Understanding Deep Blues Essay

Understanding Deep Blues Essay

Length: 1142 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

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The Mississippi Delta was known for its fertile environment, perfect for growing the abundance of the nation’s cotton crop. Not only was the Delta known for its flourishing cotton supply, but for its budding music scene as well. Derivative from native African music, the blues blends together the use of old African language, tonal singing methods and the personal trials and tribulations of life in the south. Blues musicians of the Delta used their talents in order for to escape the tumultuous life of a sharecropper and make their way north. The blues was a perfect way for musicians like Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and countless others, to escape the racism and unfairness that plagued the south after the Civil War. The success of the blues would have never reached a worldwide magnitude if it was not for this “Great Migration” to the north, and the willingness of open minded record executives, taking a chance on some black musicians from the south. If it was not for these musicians, who knows who could have inspired bands like The Rolling Stones, the Band or even the Beatles. The shape of Rock and Roll today derives from music that cultivated from the Mississippi Delta. The music of the blues carries generations of history and African culture through it the simplest guitar riffs and the shortest line of lyrics. Palmer’s book details how the forever evolving genre that is the blues impacted decades of music while teaching people from all walks of life what it meant to be living a life of hardship in the Mississippi Delta, post-Civil War.
Palmer makes the argument, to understand blues, the listener must learn where the music came from. Leo Smith, stepson of Delta bluesman Alec Wallace describes the blues as “...

... middle of paper ...

Deep Blues details the blues forever changed the American music scene. The Delta blues contains so much history behind its music, it becomes nearly impossible to mimic. The genre is forever evolving. Whether it comes through rock and roll, or any other American music, hints of blues pull through. When reading Palmer’s book, there is only so much musical terminology one can understand. To really learn about the blues, one would have to experience some of the music for themselves by just listening to it. Deep Blues would be a great read for any of those music enthusiasts that would like to learn the true roots of the blues. After reading Palmer’s book, the reader will come out with a greater knowledge and appreciation for the blues and all its historical intricacies involving African culture.

Works Cited

Palmer, Robert. Deep Blues. New York: Viking, 1981. Print.

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