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Who started the Delta blues myth?

GUEST,Joseph Scott 15 Feb 19 - 02:45 AM
Big Al Whittle 14 Feb 19 - 08:59 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 14 Feb 19 - 05:53 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 14 Feb 19 - 05:42 PM
Neil D 13 Feb 19 - 05:36 PM
GUEST,Charles Wayne 13 Feb 19 - 03:33 PM
meself 13 Feb 19 - 03:05 PM
GUEST,Charles Wayne 13 Feb 19 - 01:02 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 11 Feb 19 - 07:31 PM
GUEST,Anton 11 Feb 19 - 02:24 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 06 Feb 19 - 01:27 PM
GUEST,Winston Hall 05 Feb 19 - 04:21 PM
GUEST,Guest 01 Feb 19 - 02:29 PM
GUEST 30 Jan 19 - 08:07 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 30 Jan 19 - 08:04 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 30 Jan 19 - 07:12 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 27 Jan 19 - 05:09 PM
GUEST,Guest - Jackson 27 Jan 19 - 04:50 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 14 Oct 18 - 09:01 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 14 Oct 18 - 08:54 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 14 Oct 18 - 08:49 PM
GUEST,Elijah Wald 14 Oct 18 - 02:28 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 28 Sep 18 - 09:08 PM
KarenH 28 Sep 18 - 06:29 PM
medievallassie 28 Sep 18 - 05:57 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 28 Sep 18 - 05:01 PM
medievallassie 28 Sep 18 - 04:37 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 28 Sep 18 - 03:33 AM
leeneia 27 Sep 18 - 09:03 PM
GUEST,Vestapol 26 Sep 18 - 02:35 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 20 Sep 18 - 02:58 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 20 Sep 18 - 02:56 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 20 Sep 18 - 06:34 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 20 Sep 18 - 01:46 AM
leeneia 27 Aug 18 - 10:07 PM
leeneia 27 Aug 18 - 10:00 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 27 Aug 18 - 12:14 AM
leeneia 27 Aug 18 - 12:10 AM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 26 Aug 18 - 05:19 PM
leeneia 25 Aug 18 - 03:04 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 23 Aug 18 - 02:08 AM
GUEST,KarenH 21 Aug 18 - 09:11 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 19 Aug 18 - 05:18 PM
GUEST,KarenH 19 Aug 18 - 07:33 AM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 16 Aug 18 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,KarenH 16 Aug 18 - 06:03 AM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 15 Aug 18 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,KarenH 15 Aug 18 - 07:52 AM
GUEST,KarenH 15 Aug 18 - 07:17 AM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 14 Aug 18 - 02:39 PM
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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 15 Feb 19 - 02:45 AM

1933


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Feb 19 - 08:59 PM

What year did Jimmy Rogers write Mississippi Delta Blues?

Must have been a legend by then.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 14 Feb 19 - 05:53 PM

Neil, on black cowboys and blues it's worth noting that Floyd Canada (1915 article with tons of blues lyrics he knew) was a cowboy, and that "Goodbye Old Paint" as Jess Morris knew it (learned from black cowboy Charley Willis) was partly AAB and as Harry McClintock, born 1884, knew it was ABB, which is associated with early blues too.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 14 Feb 19 - 05:42 PM

"As it is, I have no idea what your point is." Who is to blame for the myth that we have evidence that blues music originated in the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta? Short answer: Alan Lomax, it seems.

"trying" straw man, didn't write it
"maliciously" straw man, didn't write it


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: Neil D
Date: 13 Feb 19 - 05:36 PM

First of all, I think we sometimes are too narrow in our definition of blues music. I remember having a conversation on the patio of my local watering hole. My friend Joe said "Imagine if the guitar had never been invented. What would we do for blues music?" I said "We'd be playing it on banjos." A guy sitting nearby who had just been onstage singing "Maggie's Farm", chimed in with "There's no banjos in Blues music'" repeating it over and over like some kind of mantra. I could only respond "Well, I know a guy named Gus Cannon who might have something to say about that." You wouldn't think the fife was a blues instrument either, till you heard Otha Turner.

In the same way I wouldn't be too narrow when it comes to where the blues originated. Some people like to see history as specific points in time. These people will tell you that Ike Turner "invented" Rock and Roll or that Buddy Bolden "invented" Jazz. In my mind however, Turner's recording of "Rocket 88" with the Brenston band was the culmination of an evolution over time. Same with Bolden's "Funky Butt." I don't deny the Delta's importance in the development of Blues. It may be the most important springboard for the music's spread and growth into an international popularity, from the '20s on. But as to origins, it seems to pop up simultaneously in many places at approximately the same time: the Tidewater; Northern Missippi hill country; even Southern Indiana. East Texas in particular.

Blues music did indeed evolve from field hands, as well as dockworkers and almost entirely overlooked, black cowboys. East Texas was full of them. As many as one quarter of all cowboys were African-Americans who had a major influence on both blues and country music. Dom Flemons from the Carolina Chocolate Drops recently released an important album called "Black Cowboys" featuring some of this seminal music. Leadbelly himself had been a cowhand in his youth and reflected this in some of his songs. I don't want to overstate this influence, I'm not saying that the first ears to hear Blues music belonged to cattle, bedded down after a day on the trail. I'm just pointing out that the music evolved from many sources in many regions. Someone earlier in the thread mentioned the importance of the railroad in communicating the music from region to region and remember, every cattle drive ended at a railhead.


There are a handful of articles exploring these connections. To read one of the more informative ones type into your search engine: Cowboy Blues: Early Black Music In The West.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Charles Wayne
Date: 13 Feb 19 - 03:33 PM

Yes, you did miss something......Post #1 from Joseph Scott........

"Robert Palmer, the rock writer who decided to write a book about blues -- and it sold and influenced other writers -- wrote that "Blues in the Delta... certainly is the first blues we know much about." That was a FALSE CLAIM when he wrote it."

Just a blatant 'hit-job' on Robert Palmer.... His book may not be perfect, but I doubt he was trying to maliciously make a "FALSE CLAIM", as Scott accuses him.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: meself
Date: 13 Feb 19 - 03:05 PM

Out of idle curiosity, I took a quick scroll back through five pages and four years of posts - and in all Joseph Scott's many posts, I couldn't find one in which he said anything in ALL CAPS. Did I miss something?


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Charles Wayne
Date: 13 Feb 19 - 01:02 PM

Mr. Scott.....

I'd suggest you learn how to talk to people, instead of using ALL CAPS, "that's a FALSE CLAIM" antics against hard working researchers, insinuating that they had malicious intent.

Take note of the old adage... "we can disagree without being disagreeable" .... and you might get your point across better.

As it is, I have no idea what your point is. I couldn't get past your contempt.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 11 Feb 19 - 07:31 PM

"seems to have no interest in learning anything" Bad call.

"he does in a cartoonish imitation of a scholarly work" How so?


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Anton
Date: 11 Feb 19 - 02:24 PM

Winston Hall: I agree. Joseph Scott, who started this thread, seems to have no interest in learning anything or sharing the discussion. In fact, he seems to have no interest in anything other than defending his original thesis, which he does in a cartoonish imitation of a scholarly work. But if you simply skip his posts it's a pretty interesting thread.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 06 Feb 19 - 01:27 PM

"sure has an ax to grind against the Delta Blues" No, love blues from the Delta. Against a particular myth, and I haven't been vague.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Winston Hall
Date: 05 Feb 19 - 04:21 PM

Geez, who is this Hatchet Man? The Blues Police on the scene.
someone sure has an ax to grind against the Delta Blues.
write your own book buddy, and back it up with something more than your vague 'opinions' next time.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 01 Feb 19 - 02:29 PM

"You can't rely on where the most black people were to tell you were a black style originated, it doesn't work. Did ragtime come from wherever the most black people were? Hip hop?"

Ouch, and yes... black music did generally originate in black communities. Not in white, Mexican or Asian communities.... duh.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jan 19 - 08:07 PM

"that the Delta was special with regard to blues music" That's including influences on blues music, which you mentioned. No real evidence of that at all.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 30 Jan 19 - 08:04 PM

"Charles Peabody was astounded by how much 'early blues' music he heard in the Delta in his 1901 and 1902 visits." There is no blues music in his 1903 article:
https://ourblues.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/charles-peabody.pdf
When did Peabody say he was astounded by what, specifically?

I don't know why you refer to pro blues as "blues as we know it." We have countless recordings of folk blues. We know both.

"Musicians were able to transfer... folk 'blues' into a familiar blues form and common structure" No, the familiar blues form was used by the folk musicians and adopted by the pro musicians. Pro musicians who copied folk blues deserve no credit for inventing what they copied, only whatever they didn't copy (such as Enrique Smith's beautifully original "Wandering Blues" and W.C. Handy's beautifully original "Harlem Blues").

Alan Lomax loved to talk about "hollers" -- defining them remarkably inconsistently over the years -- and fields, far more than he loved to present plausible evidence connecting "hollers" to blues music.

Booker White was relatively young. W.C. Handy heard "Got No More Home Than A Dog" about 10 years before Booker was born, in Indiana, so if Booker honestly didn't know that, so what.

"HUGE 90% Black population there, therefore there were more field workers and field hollers, so more 'Blues Influences'" You can't rely on where the most black people were to tell you were a black style originated, it doesn't work. Did ragtime come from wherever the most black people were? Hip hop?

"What myth? Other than Alan Lomax's book title 'The Land Where the Blues Began', I don't think I've ever heard any blues researcher say that blues music was exclusively 'born' in the Mississippi Delta." Then you didn't read the whole OP. Sam Charters is quoted there: "it was in the Mississippi delta counties that the first blues were sung."

I appreciate your mention of 1905 to 1910 and folk to non-folk, because that's an issue Elijah doesn't get or has written about as if he doesn't get -- and the latest Abbott and Seroff book is also painfully misleading about, although their earlier Ragged But Right wasn't at all, which makes me think one of them finished up one book and the other the other.

You presented zero actual evidence that the Delta was special with regard to blues music as of e.g. 1905 because no one has any.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 30 Jan 19 - 07:12 PM

Everyone uses words to mean things. "Wald has a point." How so?


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 27 Jan 19 - 05:09 PM

Sorry Joseph, your position is also one based on semantics ie your definition of what the term 'means'. Wald has a point.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Guest - Jackson
Date: 27 Jan 19 - 04:50 PM

Pardon me, but I find the premise of this thread to be a bit strange.

What myth? Other than Alan Lomax's book title "The Land Where the Blues Began", I don't think I've ever heard any blues researcher say that blues music was exclusively 'born' in the Mississippi Delta.

Like Bukka White once said "The Blues came from out of those fields....". The first blues 'influences' (different than the blues as we know it) likely came from field hollers, work songs, etc, from all over the south.

But the Mississippi delta was a very, very different place than other areas of the south. There was a HUGE 90% Black population there, therefore there were more field workers and field hollers, so more "Blues Influences" than other areas. Charles Peabody was astounded by how much 'early blues' music he heard in the Delta in his 1901 and 1902 visits.

I'd suggest folks read the book "The Most Southern Place on Earth" to understand what the delta was like around the turn of the century. It was a very vibrant black community around the turn of the century. You can't really understand blues in the delta without understanding the delta region itself.

But blues as early folk music, was not blues music as we know it. Sometime between 1905 and 1910 blues seemed to jump from the fields and folk music to popular music, because people wanted to make money playing it.

Musicians were able to transfer field hollers and folk 'blues' into a familiar blues form and common structure, and that's when the blues as we know it was 'born'.

The Mississippi Delta was certainly one of the places that transition happened, being the large African American community that it was. East Texas was another important area for the 'birth' of what we'd call modern blues.

P.S.... The Mississippi Delta is a well defined geographic region that runs north south from just below Memphis down to Vicksburg, and from the Mississippi river east beyond the Yazoo River to the hill country.... it does not run from Louisiana to Ohio.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 14 Oct 18 - 09:01 PM

"... first [blues] was a black pop style, and it remained a black pop style until the 1960s. Then, it retroactively became a folk style..."

https://www.elijahwald.com/rjohnson.html

accessed 10/14/2018


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 14 Oct 18 - 08:54 PM

"[T]he blues was pop music — it simply wasn’t folk music. It was invented retroactively as black folk music...." -- Elijah Wald to the New York _Times_, 2004. Complete nonsense. Bringing up definitions and semantics isn't somehow going to make it not complete nonsense.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 14 Oct 18 - 08:49 PM

Elijah, calling the Tutwiler guitarist e.g. (about 1904) a blues guitarist has never been considered a live issue in the study of blues music -- except by you, you say.

People began talking about quote "blues" music in about 1907. Under your proposed definition of blues music in which people must have been talking about quote "blues" music by then in order for any so-defined blues music to exist, your repeated claims that blues music started out as pop music and later became folk music and the like* are _still_ wrong. Do you understand that that proposed definition doesn't somehow dig you out of that, at all?

Here's a quote from Elijah: "Blues is one of the great American popular music styles, not an obscure back-country folk art. There have been plenty of back-porch blues pickers, just as there have been plenty of garage rock bands, but they were never the music's driving force."* Wrong. And as I say, the unusual definition of blues music Elijah wants us to look at doesn't even succeed in _impacting on_ the fact that it is wrong.

(*Elijah posted this here, but the dispute Elijah and I have is about whether non-folk musicians helped invent blues music, as he's claimed over and over, and is not related to the Delta topic of this thread. Elijah claimed completely wrongly here what I claim about "field hollers," which isn't central to what we're talking about, but is notable.)


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Elijah Wald
Date: 14 Oct 18 - 02:28 PM

Joseph Scott keeps acting like I'm ducking the issue when I ask him to define his terms or explain that I tend to use different definitions.

To be clear: He believes that some of the music black people were singing non-professionally at the turn of the 20th century was blues, that there is no evidence they got that music from professional entertainers, and that later professional musicians based their compositions on that early material.

I agree with him on all points, except his insistence that "blues" is a tangible thing that can be identified in a period when the word was not used and from which no recordings survive.

I'm not saying he can't define earlier field hollers as "blues" -- he obviously can, and does, and I understand why: a lot of music people did not call blues in 1900 is clearly related to music they did call blues in 1920, so it is perfectly reasonable to argue that it was already blues even though that terminology did not yet exist.

I treat genre terms as historical artifacts, so don't use a term to describe music made in a period when the term didn't exist. But that's a semantic choice, made because as a historian I'm wary of anachronisms, and I understand why other people make other choices.

As for the argument that vaudeville blues affected rural blues, that's easily proved once we have recordings, because we have concrete (ok, shellac) examples of rural musicians imitating records by vaudeville singers. Of course, we also have lots of examples going back to the 19th century of rural singers performing versions of songs by professional minstrel composers -- but whether one wants to call some of those examples "early blues" is, again, a semantic choice.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 28 Sep 18 - 09:08 PM

Medievallassie, I'm not sure what part of McCoy in Cleveland was after Handy settled in Clarksdale whereas "Got No More Home Than A Dog" was years before Handy settled in Clarksdale you don't understand, but it's true.

"I have mentioned that there is." You've claimed incorrectly that there is.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: KarenH
Date: 28 Sep 18 - 06:29 PM

Hello Medievalliassie

I followed the link about Handy's 'enlightenment' and that page does not claim that Handy first heard the blues in Cleveland, as you appear to assert.

The 'enlightenment' seems - if what Handy wrote in his draft and final autobiography is correct - to have been in terms of realising what audiences liked and would throw money at.

Moreover, this was dance music, which had the audience 'stomping' as well as throwing money at the performers, and how far this meets with a definition of 'blues' I am not sure, because I give up on definitions of 'blues'.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: medievallassie
Date: 28 Sep 18 - 05:57 PM

It's quite apparent that this is simply a game with you, Mr. Scott. You continue to state there is no credible evidence and I have mentioned that there is. Your premise isn't to actually learn what the other side has to offer but rather to dismiss it with repeating the same sources ad nauseum. I suggest that you go to the site I linked for the Blues Trail and actually read the information. Each marker lists sources and also mentions when things are not known for certain. The following is located on the page where the marker I linked is found "Special thanks to Handy scholar Elliott Hurwitz for sharing his research on the Handy manuscripts that identified Prince McCoy. Other research assistance: David Evans, Cheryl Line, Nancy Kossman, Yale University Library and the W. C. Handy Museum in Florence, Alabama. Images courtesy Jim O'Neal BluEsoterica Archives except as noted." Since your mind is made up, why did you ask the question?


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 28 Sep 18 - 05:01 PM

"I am a staunch proponent for the blues starting right here at Dockery Plantation and the surrounding area." There is no credible evidence supporting that idea.

"Handy first heard the blues on the courthouse steps here in Cleveland" Nope, the most famous book connected with him, _Father Of The Blues_, said he heard the blues "Got No More Home Than A Dog" back in the 1890s, years before he found a particular job in Clarksdale and while living in Clarksdale heard Prince McCoy's band in Cleveland, MS (in about 1904). When Jack The Bear Wilson borrowed "Joe Turner"-family melody and chord progression for an 1898 piece of sheet music, e.g., that was also years before Handy heard McCoy's band (or the Tutwiler guitarist).

"[L]iterally hundreds of true authorities" can provide and have provided zero credible evidence that blues music started in the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta.

I agree with leeneia that the railroads have been underrated. They were often mentioned in early blues songs.

Boogie woogie is a style of playing non-blues material or blues material. So supposing the style was being used in the 1870s, that doesn't tell us anything about whether it was being used on blues material yet (apparently not).


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: medievallassie
Date: 28 Sep 18 - 04:37 PM

Well, I am not a blues authority by any stretch of the imagination but I am a staunch proponent for the blues starting right here at Dockery Plantation and the surrounding area. I live in the heart of the delta, Cleveland, MS, and worked for a while with the Delta Center for Culture and Learning which is largely focused on blues education. Here's what I can attest to:

W.B Handy first heard the blues on the courthouse steps here in Cleveland which is now marked by a marker "The Enlightenment of W.B. Handy" at http://msbluestrail.org/blues-trail-markers/the-enlightenment-of-w-c-handy

The marker is a part of an extensive amount of research which created the The Blues Trail in the delta which runs, as Joe Offer mentioned, from Memphis all the way to the Vicksburg. The research was conducted by literally hundreds of true authorities who have scoured letters, diaries, calendars, and all manner of authentic sources of information.

By the way, I wish this thread had been seen earlier because I would have invited all of you the International Blues Conference which began today, of all days. We'd love to have you. Come on down and see for yourself. The "proof" is all over this place and we don't find showing you the sites. http://www.internationaldeltabluesproject.com/conference/

P.S. Just north of here is Hopson Plantation which is home to the Shack-Up Inn. I wonder if the Hopson mentioned in the first post is any relation....


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 28 Sep 18 - 03:33 AM

Where does boogie woogie piano fit in to the "where the blues began" story because boogie woogie used to be described as speeded up blues BUT it is now claimed that boogie woogie piano was being played in Texas in the 1870s!


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: leeneia
Date: 27 Sep 18 - 09:03 PM

I bet that if you could really follow the early blues, you would find that wherever they began, they followed the railroads. Blacks were working on the railroads, and black musicians were spreading the tunes, riding to gigs on the railroads.

That's how blues spread so fast and so far.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Vestapol
Date: 26 Sep 18 - 02:35 PM

We're learning that there were so many styles early on, round about fin de siecle... all with African music & culture in common; regional styles, some of them "country" styles, some urban "Classic" styles; ragtime styles; and some we might call marching band styles like fife & drum and "second line".

A major Folklore Theory is called Spontaneous Generation. The theory claims that remarkably similar motifs might appear in places that had no communication with each other. The earliest generations of African Americans held close as they could to their African folkways. No matter whether they were in an urban or rural milieu, hill country or flatlands, House Servant or field worker, they all had African lore in common. The expressions of their similar (or identical) lore were influenced by their milieu, so we discover there are these various distinctive forms of African American "Blues" over time.

Before we discovered the variety of African-based Blues forms we know of today; before we could put together any sense of a timeline; before we realized many of these forms were contemporaneous; before we realized that some forms grew right out of an earlier form, that some forms may have been influenced by other forms, and that some forms developed "spontaneously" meaning with minimal external influence by other forms; before we could conceptualize Blues pre-history; it was easy to prematurely conclude that one dramatic Blues form found mainly in The Delta in the 1920s and 30s might be The Blues Ground Zero.

That error of enthusiasm is just part of human nature. We note it and move on more carefully.

Cheers,


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 20 Sep 18 - 02:58 PM

10 to 19 years, if I can subtract...


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 20 Sep 18 - 02:56 PM

"... early Delta blues... has a primitive sound..."

People have associated the (artificial) notion of Delta blues with Charlie Patton's growly voice because he happens to be the most notable blues singer from the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta born before 1895. But we don't have reason to believe his style was particularly representative of his Delta peers of 1910-1919, which was 10 to 20 years before he began recording. E.g., James McCoy was about the same age as Patton, Son House learned "My Black Mama" from McCoy, and House said McCoy sang similarly to Skip James.

We also don't have any better reason to say Patton sounded primitive than to say e.g. Henry Thomas (Texas) and Peg Leg Howell (Georgia) sounded primitive.

We can identify a significant link between work songs and blues songs, across the South, but Patton's repertoire isn't somehow special to identifying that and the Delta isn't somehow special to identifying that.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 20 Sep 18 - 06:34 AM

Well, I almost feel that early Delta blues sounds like it should be the oldest form. It has a primitive sound close to what we are told is one of the main predecessors of the blues i.e. the work song.
For example, imagine in the 1930s, somebody was enquiring where jazz originated and somebody said, "Well, I believe the most primitive form of jazz is to be found in New Orleans.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 20 Sep 18 - 01:46 AM

Some interesting origins discussion here: Songs of Mississippi floods.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: leeneia
Date: 27 Aug 18 - 10:07 PM

Yep, it does.

brooklyn is the height of civilization


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: leeneia
Date: 27 Aug 18 - 10:00 PM

Nice to hear. I bet it sounds better than a plastic pill bottle slipped over a finger.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 27 Aug 18 - 12:14 AM

Yeah, in about 1985 I was pretty good.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: leeneia
Date: 27 Aug 18 - 12:10 AM

Back of a knife, eh? I can picture somebody using the back edge of a butter knife. Have you ever tried it?


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 26 Aug 18 - 05:19 PM

Handy's 1916 article said he was awakened on a plantation by a guitarist playing with a knife, and his 1926 book said the guitarist was "outside a country railroad station" and the playing compelled him "to go out, question the singer and jot down his tune as something of beauty...." That anecdote -- whether it was in 1904 or whenever it really was -- was years after he had already heard "Joe Turner" and "Got No More Home Than A Dog."

"few people knew it by that name" We have no evidence that anyone knew it by that name then.

"Texas, Louisiana, the Piedmont region, and the Mississippi Delta" Arbitrary supposed narrowings were discussed above in this thread. Handy said he heard "Got No More Home Than A Dog" in the 1890s in Indiana.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: leeneia
Date: 25 Aug 18 - 03:04 PM

I found an interesting article about the blues in 1903 here:

the yellow dog


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 23 Aug 18 - 02:08 AM

"Sandburg had a 'Mississippi Blues' he liked to perform himself and talk about as early." The Bloomington Indiana _Daily Student_ wrote of Sandburg in 1921 that he considered the "Mississippi Blues" he performed "the original ancestor of our modern epidemic of blues."


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,KarenH
Date: 21 Aug 18 - 09:11 PM

YESSIR! MESSAGE RECEIVED SIR! PARDON ME FOR BREATHING, SIR"


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 19 Aug 18 - 05:18 PM

Odum was a folklorist. Anyone who collected enough folklore (and for black secular folk songs of about 1907 he is the top of the heap) and presented it to the _Journal Of American Folk Lore_ so that other people interested in folklore could study it was doing the study of folklore.

You seem to honestly believe that Odum's attitudes are relevant to our discussion here of my review of K H M's book. My review of K H M's book is accurate, and you bringing up Odum's attitudes over and over doesn't somehow change that.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,KarenH
Date: 19 Aug 18 - 07:33 AM

Joseph

'Including trusting him about e.g. Odum'

On the contrary, as I have demonstrated, I read Odum for myself.

I trust Odum on Odum. I agree absolutely with Miller in his view that Odum was working in a sort of social darwinist 'anthropoligical' approach, claiming to be 'scientific' in his comments on the negro 'race' while in fact drawing largely on stereotypes of much minstrelsy and the coon songs. He did not think of himself as a 'folklorist', and this is demonstrated in the opening to his 1911 articles, in which he explains that he has left out a lot of his thinking to suit the context in which his articles are to be published. However, enough of it was left in to demonstrate his attitudes at the time. It is said that he later changed his view and attitudes.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 16 Aug 18 - 01:37 PM

"gave way to the later 'folklorist' approach" Huh? Odum _was_ a folklorist. People were talking about black American folk music in the late 1800s.

The idea that a white guy born about 1885 who hung out with black street guitarists because he wanted their music to be appreciated and preserved "exemplifies" racism, if that's what you really believe, is very misguided.

"well-researched" Paul Vernon, the founder of Blues & Rhythm, called H-M's book as a whole offensive "bilge," and when I read that, I had independently come to the same conclusion as him, it's offensive bilge. He wrote that H-M employed "selective use of quotes to support pre-determined views," and it's worthwhile to compare that to e.g. the paragraph in my review that includes a mention of the Reader's Guide To Literature. H-M (unlike e.g. Alan Lomax) writes clean, pretty sentences, so when he looks through newspaper articles and finds articles that line up with what he has in his head (however contrary to reality that is), and doesn't give us the articles that don't, it's like a Trojan horse, you might look at how well those sentences read and actually believe him.

Writing "Academic collectors were particularly slow to associate the blues with folklore" is preposterous and "Prior to the mid-twenties, practically every commentator, with some minor exceptions, understood the blues as a commercial style" is preposterous and "The blues were a successful, almost viral, product of the music industry and professional songwriters" is preposterous, as it happens, really. You would be wise to not trust someone willing to write the preposterous. Including trusting him about e.g. Odum.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,KarenH
Date: 16 Aug 18 - 06:03 AM

What a pity! It's an excellent and well-researched book. The account it gives of minstrelsy and coon songs and how the stereotypes within these musical genres were backed up by the analyses of the early racist social anthropology as exemplified by Odum gave way to the later 'folklorist' approach to the music of African Americans is convincing and interesting.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 10:47 AM

I threw the book away. All the quotes are claims of fact. And all are not factual. Together they represent examples of how bad the book is.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,KarenH
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 07:52 AM

Joseph

Maybe one way forward might be for you to look at the whole chapter again and then present your view on the main idea/argument that is made in it?


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,KarenH
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 07:17 AM

Joseph

You may not remember Hagstrom Miller identifying different ideological and intellectual approaches taken during the 20th century to the music sung by African Americans, but that is a main thrust of his book, especially the chapter whence you took the quotation in question. On that basis, I stand by my view that you misrepresent the book in taking this quotation out of context.


I am particularly surprised at you not picking up on this as you seem to be interested in the way that one particular idea about this music took a hold, ie the idea that the Delta was the source of blues music.


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Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 14 Aug 18 - 02:39 PM

"discussing... 'Academic collectors were particularly slow to associate the blues with folklore'" "Thought I Heard That K.C. Whistle Blow" e.g. falls within what we call blues songs. Odum associated that blues song with folklore as of 1911 (and as of 1908).

"was later replaced by a 'folkloric" Odum was collecting folk music in 1905-1908 and thought he was collecting folk music in 1905-1908.

"people you call 'folklorists'" They were folklorists.

"later on, this degenerate view was replaced by a view that 'folk' was something communally created" I don't recommend taking Hagstrom Miller identifying supposed trends seriously.* Lots of people thought lots of things about folk music during e.g. 1880 to 1929.

*If you want to understand why, you can ask yourself whether there is really anything in my review of his book, in which I point out outrageous claims he made, outrageously wrong, that is incorrect. (Howard Odum and John Lomax were folklorists, e.g., so that wouldn't be it.)


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