In the previous post we learned about SPIRITUALS and how RAPP originated from these SPIRITUALS .
One of the aspects of these spirituals was “call and response” which even influenced white camp meetings which many slaves were actually encouraged to attend.
CALL and HOLLERS became the origin of primitive BLUES and were intensely personal. Where spirituals were associated with slavery, BLUES was associated with emancipation.
BLUES referred to leisure time, small individual farms with solitude, need for money, chain gangs, love gone wrong, liquor, prostitution, gambling, work or lack of it and murder.
The BLUES used more of American language and many of the performers were able to be more mobile as opposed to times of slavery. However they were still considered by the majority of whites as “outcasts” and even among other blacks playing the Devil’s music.
The GUITAR used in the BLUES had a deep tone and the strings greatly resonated. It was used to provide harmony, rhythm and melody. Robert Johnson perfected the “bottleneck” style as seen here.
Other instruments used in the BLUES were the HARMONICA which was cheap and portable. Sonny Terry was an innovator of the HARMONICA. The JUG was the BLUES version of the tuba. WASHBOARDS were used in the rhythm section and when you inverted it and added a broomstick you had a passable BASS.
The songs associated with BLUES were mostly about fields, moving cotton bales, prison and railroads like “John Henry”.