It’s What We Don’t Hear


“If the blues seems to have run its course as a 12-bar form, the blues spirit surely has not…  that element so uniquely central not just to the blues, but to the whole African-American cultural tradition, that unvarnished, unblinking, unapologetic embrace of the human experience in all of its manifold aspects and dimensions.”
Peter Guralnick

Tom Rushen Blues – Charley Patton

For 100 years, he’s been deprived of so many privileges.  They could get into the fields and become more satisfied with themselves by singingsinging of something that’s happened to them.  White man would takeem and keepem for a week or two and not pay them anything…  and maybe even kill one or two now and then.”
H.C. Speir

Police Dog Blues – Blind Blake

It isn’t what we hear, it’s what we don’t hear.  What we don’t hear in the blues is the real reason for the blues — the segregation and the discrimination.  The control was total.”
Sam Charters

To me, the blues is the expression where a people couldn’t express themselves.  Those riffs and those songs came off of the expression of not being able to say to their slavemaster, vocally, ‘I don’t like this.'”
– Chuck D

See That My Grave is Kept Clean – Blind Lemon Jefferson

“If it ain’t about what’s real, what’s happenin’ right now, it ain’t the blues.”
– Chris Thomas King

Do you have to live that life to be a blues player?  Do you have to be black or white to play the blues?  Hell no, man!  The bottom line, it’s about the good and the bad times.  And if you haven’t had a bad time in life, just keep living!”
Buddy Guy

Rope Stretching Blues – Blind Blake

“It’s a bent note here — it’s something that says, ‘I’ve been somewhere and you’ve been there too but we don’t necessarily want to talk about it.’  Blues is kind’ve like that — it’s kind’ve a mystery and long may it stay a mystery, y’know?”
Keith Richards

The bluesthere’s no black and no whiteit’s the truth.”
Van Morrison

12-String Blues – Jimi Hendrix

When you listen to Lead Belly, or Son House, or Robert Johnson, or John Lee Hooker, or Charley Patton, or Muddy Waters, you’re moved; your heart is shaken, you’re carried and inspired by its visceral energy, and its rock solid emotional truth. You go right to the heart of what it is to be human, the condition of being human. That’s the blues.”
Martin Scorsese

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