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Rosa Lee got hair like a mermaid out on the sea - Ernest Lewis - Rosa Lee

Author Topic: Social comment in the blues  (Read 927 times)

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Offline blueshome

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Social comment in the blues
« on: November 11, 2009, 12:08:36 PM »
I've been listening to a lot of Hi Henry Brown recently and it's struck me that most of his output is social comment -
Titanic blues, Preacher blues, Nut factory blues, Hospital blues, Skin man blues. I wonder if there are any other artists whose recorded repertoire includes so much of this material.
The other artist who comes to mind is Sleepy John Estes.

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Social comment in the blues
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2009, 02:25:27 PM »
Leadbelly, Big Bill Broonzy & Josh White of course. In the forties they were adopted by the left and laced their repertoire heavily with socially conscious songs. Bourgeois Blues, If you White, you all right (Black, Brown & White Blues I think), Uncle Sam says are a few respectively.

Prior to that there are many reappearing lyrics dealing with social injustice:
They accused me of murder, I ain't raised my hand
They accused me of forgery, I can't sign my name




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Offline blueshome

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Re: Social comment in the blues
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2009, 02:49:46 PM »
"Leadbelly, Big Bill Broonzy & Josh White"

Yes social comment but only after interacting with the white intelligentsia. What about the period before that when most country blues was recorded commercially?

Offline frankie

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Re: Social comment in the blues
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2009, 04:08:27 PM »
From Bo Carter's Good Old Turnip Greens:

white man go to the college
and the nigger go to the fields
white man learn to read and write
the nigger learns to steal
white folks in their parlor
just eating their cake and cream
and the darkeys back in the kitchen
just scrappin' over turnip greens

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