In the mid 1950’s, on his WFMT radio program, Studs Terkel asked, “Say Bill, what’s blues?” Big Bill Broonzy replied with confidence that in actual blues, you do not blend that with absolutely nothing. You simply play blues. Now a real blues, a Mississippi blues, you just alter [chords] when you feel like it and you play exactly what you really feel (as heard on The Folkways Collection podcast series about “The Blues”). To Broonzy and also various other blues musicians, the country blues is a style birthed from the Mississippi Delta that laid the foundation for various other, later, local blues styles found throughout the United States. The country blues is music that relies on the meaningful electrical power of the voice with sporadic instrumental accompaniment (generally only a guitar or harmonica), varying from the “city blues” in that it has even more improvisation freedom and also a much less rigidly specified structure.
Singing the Blues
The country blues is the music of daily life. It is the lonesome songs of lounging on the front deck, the wild songs of your house party, and the rowdy as well as appealing songs of the concert phase. The lyrics handle the African American experience and the hardships of work, life, and also love in the American South, and themes of travel, loneliness, and also wandering of the blues musician way of living. Rebirth requirements such as “Candy Man,” taped by both Reverend Gary Davis and also John Hurt, “I Ain’t Gonna Cry No More,” recorded by Son House, as well as “Boll Weevil,” recorded by Charlie Patton, Pink Anderson, Ma Rainey and also others all show the link of blues lyrics to daily life through their references to individuals, railway work and also love, and a specific agricultural parasite.