Mudcat Café message #69642 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #10103   Message #69642
Posted By: jofield
10-Apr-99 - 06:55 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Yellow Dog Blues (W. C. Handy)
Subject: RE: Yellow Dog Blues??
Well, now, since you brought it up...

I think all you have to have is a pair of ears to hear that composers like Handy were steeped in Tin Pan Alley and minstrelsy. A lot (maybe most) of Bessie Smith's material was written by her white producers. Nothing wrong with any of that -- there is a straight line from these musical forms to old time, Jimmie Rodgers, bluegrass, C&W, etc., without which I would have to had fill about a million hours with other activities.

But what I call the blues developed without the help of commercial songwriting and its European influences. If you listen to Lightnin' Hopkins ("Big Brazos, Here I Come", for instance), or any of a number of the singers of the 20's and 30's, you can feel the direct evolution from field hollers going back to slavery. And from these roots runs a straight line to myriad blues singers as well as to Ellington and Basie and Charlie Parker, who took the form way beyond its 12-bar origins.

I prefer to see the 'real' blues not as dumbed down, but as NOT dressed up in commercial Tin Pan Alley clothing.

There you have it. Keep them cards and letters comin'.

James.