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Blues Greats

Blues Greats Top Ten By William r. Ferris For over a century the blues has served as the musical anchor of American music. Muddy Waters aptly titled one of his songs "The Blues Had a Baby, and They Named it Rock and Roll." Without the blues, we could not imagine gospel, rock 'n' roll, rock, and rap music. Blues also shaped writers like Ralph Ellison and Alice Walker, artists like Romare Bearden and Aaron Douglas, composers like Nathaniel Dett and William Grant Still, and choreographers like Alvin Ailey and Cholly Atkins. The blues, in fact, have given us a way of understanding life through its distinctive prism. Ralph Ellison describes the music as "an impulse to keep the painful details and episodes of a brutal experience alive in one's aching consciousness. To finger its jagged grain, and to transcend it, not by the consolation of philosophy but by squeezing from it a near-tragic, near-comic lyricism." Richard Wright felt blues were "the spirituals of the city . . . blues are as natural for the Black people as eating and sleeping, and they come as a rule out of their daily experience." Alice Walker affirms her deep love for the blues http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Southern Cultures University of North Carolina Press

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
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Copyright © University of North Carolina Press
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1534-1488
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Abstract

Top Ten By William r. Ferris For over a century the blues has served as the musical anchor of American music. Muddy Waters aptly titled one of his songs "The Blues Had a Baby, and They Named it Rock and Roll." Without the blues, we could not imagine gospel, rock 'n' roll, rock, and rap music. Blues also shaped writers like Ralph Ellison and Alice Walker, artists like Romare Bearden and Aaron Douglas, composers like Nathaniel Dett and William Grant Still, and choreographers like Alvin Ailey and Cholly Atkins. The blues, in fact, have given us a way of understanding life through its distinctive prism. Ralph Ellison describes the music as "an impulse to keep the painful details and episodes of a brutal experience alive in one's aching consciousness. To finger its jagged grain, and to transcend it, not by the consolation of philosophy but by squeezing from it a near-tragic, near-comic lyricism." Richard Wright felt blues were "the spirituals of the city . . . blues are as natural for the Black people as eating and sleeping, and they come as a rule out of their daily experience." Alice Walker affirms her deep love for the blues

Journal

Southern CulturesUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Aug 13, 2009

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