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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Leadbelly once said, “When you lie down at night, turning from side to side, and you can’t be satisfied o' way you do, Old Man Blues got you.” I Got the Blues Bent under heavy ducking sacks in the broiling, demon sun, Ebony shapes haunted the soft white-capped fields of the Mississippi Delta. Rootless and orphaned, the human commodities pined for lost love and family And wailed field hollars in beautiful, haunting rhythmic undertones of eternal hope. "Trouble in my mind, I am blue, but I won't be blue always, Sun, you gotta shine, in my backdoor some day, I may be blue but I won't be blue always, Sun, you gotta shine, in my backdoor some day." The twin Blue Devils of melancholy and sadness haunted eight bars, then twelve, Aided in their progression with bent blue notes and crushing slides And melodic falls at the turnaround in sixteen bar minor keys Or shuffles of swung eighth note vocals of "dow, da dow, da dow, da." Loose narratives in rhythm spoke of harsh realities, white bosses and hard times. W.C. Handy found the Devils in St. Louis while Robert Johnson sold his soul at the crossroads. Charlie Patton, Blind Willie Johnson, Mamie Smith, and Lead Belly-- all possessed the Blues. The Devils stormed the Mississippi Delta south to New Orleans, west to Memphis, and north to Chicago. The Blues remain with the low and downtrodden. They echo the pain and struggle of their troubled hosts Just as their souls expel the sad and melancholy spirits Like the displaced slaves of the old master's killing fields. "Into each life must come some trouble, must come some rain Only through adversity will you ever know your true strength When hard times come we fight the battles we find no one else could win Remember what the old blues doctor said, Trouble don't last always." -Arthur Flowers, New Delhi, January 2009
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