[Marxism] Stones in my passway

Angelus Novus fuerdenkommunismus at yahoo.com
Tue Dec 25 05:34:14 MST 2012

Just a heads up to Louis and other blues fans on the list: I have been reading two fantastic books by Elijah Wald this winter: _Escape From the Delta_, a revisionist history of the blues, and _How The Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n' Roll: An Alternative History of American Popular Music_.

Both books are absolutely essential and Wald has become my favorite music writer.  _Escaping the Delta_ in particular makes a solid case that contrary to the perception created by the 1960s Folk-revival and British Blues-Rock, Blues has never been a rural "folk" style.  Rather, Blues was sophisticated African-American pop music from the very beginning, and rural artists like Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, far from being primitive folk artists, were skilled and versatile entertainers adept in all popular music styles, from the smooth urban Blues of Leroy Carr to Gene Autry's cowboy ballads, but due to the racist nature of the music industry of the day, as well as the novelty-based nature of recorded music, most African-American artists were forced to record "Blues", i.e. 12 or 16-bar structures with I-IV-V chord progressions.  Indeed, one of Wald's main contentions is that it's questionable whether Blues is really a genre at all, as opposed to a song
 form with a particular chord structure.

In any case, check out these books, they're fascinating pieces of American cultural history.

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