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Visual & Performing Arts
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Paper On The Blues (Essay Sample)

Leadbelly once told Alan Lomax, It take a man that have the blues to sing the blues, and that statement — which is certainly a truth of the blues — leads to a number of things worth thinking about and exploring. For one thing, the other side of Leadbelly\\\'s statement must also be true: One must have or have had the blues to hear the blues and understand them. Although the blues, as a musical genre, was born in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, the blues as an emotional fact of life are universal and part of every person\\\'s experience. As a consequence, when people of all stations, backgrounds, nationalities, ages, and races encountered this music called the blues, they found that it spoke to them and helped them to understand their blues in ways that were profound and meaningful. As a result, the blues found their way into most of the music that was made in America and traveled around the world as American music gained an international audience. Most country songs are blues songs. Hank Williams and Johnny Cash were as much blues singers as Son House and Robert Johnson. Gospel is rooted in the blues. Jazz and blues are so intertwined that it is difficult to talk about one without talking about the other. Rock and roll is the blues, as Little Richard once said, The blues had a baby and we called it rock and roll. It is hard not to hear the blues somewhere in the background of almost any song that is written, sung, or listened to today. What makes the blues so important is not that they are about feeling blue — although many are — it is that they are about entering into that place where one feels alone and cut-off and apart with no defense or recourse other than, perhaps, to listen to or sing a blues song. There were always sad songs and some blues are sad songs, but the blues go beyond just being sad. Eric Clapton\\\'s Layla is a blues song (about being in love with your best friend\\\'s wife) and so is Cocaine, though neither is particularly sad. On Clapton\\\'s last major tour, he would close with \\\"Over The Rainbow\\\" from The Wizard of Oz and it became a blues song…not because of something done musically — he usually sang the song a cappella — but because Clapton sings from that place where the blues are most deeply felt. However, despite the now universal application of the blues, it remains a musical genre that grew out of the American experience and there is a powerful tie between the blues and that experience. The blues didn\\\'t come from France, England, Egypt or China... although people in all of those countries understand and can even sing the blues. The blues were born in America and continue to articulate the experiences of Americans lost and lonely with greater force and clarity than any other means of expression that we know of. YOUR ASSIGNMENT: Search out at least four blues songs that you believe are meaningful and important in telling us something unique and important about the American experience. All four songs should concern a single subject or topic and, when taken collectively, should tell us something important about that topic and the American experience. As an example, Nina Simone\\\'s Strange Fruit, Four Women, Old Jim Crow, and Mississippi Goddamn (all on Four Women: The Nina Simone Phillips Recordings) tell us something important about being black in the American South (and if you haven\\\'t listened to Nina Simone, you should). As another example, Liz Phair\\\'s Fuck And Run (on Exile In Guyville, currently not available on Rhapsody) and Janis Ian\\\'s At Seventeen (on Between The Lines) are songs about what it is like to be a girl who doesn\\\'t believe that she will ever find love in America…and that tells us something important about what the American experience is for such girls and also about how American values affect the lives of some young women in our society. The songs don\\\'t have to be traditional blues songs (they could be country or rock and roll or jazz or even mainstream pop songs). However if they are not traditional blues songs, you should be able to explain why you think they qualify as blues. The songs also don\\\'t all necessarily have to be on Rhapsody, although it would obviously help so that your classmates could listen to those songs that are unfamiliar to them. Make a list of these songs and their artists and include this list at the start of your paper. Your paper should be an explanation (700 words minimum) that then focuses on the following: What do these songs tell us about some important aspect of the American experience? Try not pick topics that are too general and broad (As example: Love, although the focus of many blues songs, is too general a topic. The Pain of Being Young and Unloved in Contemporary America would be more workable.). Compare and contrast the songs that you pick. Let the reader know how each song contributes to your argument and why you think they are meaningful examples. Then tell the reader why the songs and topic you have selected are things that we should pay attention to? What is it the music tells us that\\\'s important for us to hear or know about? What do we learn from these songs? A Minimum 700 Word Paper On The Blues source..
Blues and the American Experience by: [student`s name] [course] [date of submission] Blues and the American Experience Of all music genre today, the blues is definitely American. It is said to have been born in the Mississippi Delta, which is frequented by floods and black slaves. Blues songs are typically individual performances and they are often emotional commentaries on different issues such as racism, human rights violations and even pollution. For the purpose of this paper, we will study four blues songs: * "Strange Fruit" by Nina Simone * "Eisenhower Blues" by J.B. Lenoir * "Big Boss Man" by Jimmy Reed * "Victims of Comfort" by Keb` Mo` The songs chosen for this paper tells the story of America, a country mired in injustice. Strange Fruit talks about racism, while Eisenhower Blues deals about the prioritization of military spending instead of social services. Big Boss Man talks about worker`s rights while Victims of Comfort refers to the environmental degradation. These four songs are in a timeline, and it shows how America has transitioned from a society where inequality is externalized in the prejudice against African Americans to a society where injustice is internalized in the American`s utter disregard for the environment. Originally published as a poem, Strange Fruit ADDIN Mendeley Citation{f7ad2563-d74e-4e9b-be74-a8a0a9909e42} CSL_CITATION { "citationItems" : [ { "id" : "ITEM-1", "itemData" : { "author" : [ { "family" : "Simone", "given" : "Nina" } ], "id" : "ITEM-1", "issued" : { "date-parts" : [ [ "1965" ] ] }, "publisher" : "Philips Records", "title" : "Strange Fruit", "type" : "motion_picture" }, "uris" : [ "/documents/?uuid=f7ad2563-d74e-4e9b-be74-a8a0a9909e42" ] } ], "mendeley" : { "previouslyFormattedCitation" : "(Simone, 1965)" }, "properties" : { "noteIndex" : 0 }, "schema" : "" } (Simone, 1965) is a powerful song that expresses the author`s horror at the lynchings of African Americans. The song`s lyrics described how the killings were done, "black bodies swinging in the southern breeze, strange fruit hanging in the poplar leaves…scent of magnolia clean and fresh, then the sudden burnin` of flesh;. The inhumane treatment of African Americans at the time was even more evident in Nina Simone`s version of the song. Her very tune carried several emotions - of scorn for the seemingly natural occurrence of black bodies and blood borne by the Southern trees; of revulsion at the sight of the dead bodies still left hanging on the trees for everyone to see; of pain of having the flesh burnt; and the anger at allowing such a practice to continue. Simone was not just the singer of this song - she was the victim of such practice. Her voice translated the fear and terror felt by someone who had to face an angry mob accusing her of a felony she knew she did not do. How do you defend yourself from such a mob? How do you explain that you know nothing about their accusations? Simone`s wails were signified the last attempts of the victim of a lynching to be heard and believed. Eisenhower Blues ADDIN Mendeley Citation{71e5138a-25d8-4fea-99f8-58a40456495a} CSL_CITATION { "citationItems" : [ { "id" : "ITEM-1", "itemData" : {...
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