Music Gives Me the Blues

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Music Gives Me the Blues

“The Blues are the roots; everything else is the fruits”-Willie Dixon. The blues has deep roots in American history, particularly African-American history. How can something so simple become a massive tree whose roots transcended through different genres? According to, W.C. Handy, “the father of the Blues,” brought the Blues to the mainstream in1912 with the hit “Memphis Blues.” After the public heard the twelve note structure with the deep bass lines, the tree began to bear fruit. The Blues tree produced pioneers in all forms of music, from the haunting sound of Robert Johnson to the “King of the Juke Box” Louis Jordan. After all, where would other forms of music be if the “Carter Family” did not hook up with Lesley Riddle, Jelly “Roll” Morton did not get the message, and the “King” did not have the Blues?

Art Menius said, “The African-American music of the rural south provided the source for gospel, jazz, and blues, while the often ignored black contribution to country music and hillbilly music went far beyond providing the banjo and Charley Pride.” In 1928, A.P. Carter, the patriarch of the legendary Carter Family, the first family of country music, met a blues guitarist by the name of Lesley “Esley” Riddle. Lesley Riddle had created a unique picking and sliding technique on the guitar while he was recovering from an accident on the job. The Carter Family was looking for a new sound of music, and they were so overwhelmed by the sound that Lesley produced, they wanted him to teach them how to play that way. Lesley Riddle influenced Maybelle Carter’s style of guitar playing called the “Carter Scratch,” which became legendary. According to, Riddle’s influe...

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...ey cannot deny that the Blues has influenced different genres from the cotton fields to the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame.

Works Consulted

“African American Roots.” Web. 14 Nov. 2010

“A History of Blues Music.” Web. 14 Nov. 2010

“Rock ‘n’ Roll Timeline 1877 to 1959.” Web. 28 Nov. 2010

“Jazz/Blues Crossover.” 28 Nov. 2010

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Newfield, Jack. “Who Really Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll?” New York Sun. New York Sun, 21 Sep. 2004. Web. 28 Nov. 2010

Berlin, Edward A., A Biography of Scott Joplin. Scott Joplin International Ragtime Foundation, 1998. Web. 28 Nov. 2010

“The Classic Blues, 1900-1920s.” 28 Nov. 2010
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