Mudcat Café message #3973751 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157325   Message #3973751
Posted By: GUEST,Guest - Jackson
27-Jan-19 - 04:50 PM
Thread Name: Who started the Delta blues myth?
Subject: RE: Who started the Delta blues myth?
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.