Recovering Bluesman, Part 4
(Via Oh Papa Musings.)
The seed that grew into the musical blues tree comes from an African flower. It traveled to the United States in the belly of a slave ship. It was sown in the fields of the southern plantation system and watered with the blood and sweat of slavery. It poked through the ground during the Civil War and was nurtured by the dim light of Reconstruction and the Jim Crow system. It was fertilized by European harmonic ideas and folk songs, but retained its African lineage through the banjo and African rhythmic ideas. It bloomed at the turn of the 19th Century just as the first recordings of American music were being made, giving all of us a historical record of its early beauty. It is not just African or black, but perhaps more than anything, truly American. A blossom whose beauty openly mocks the pain and suffering that created it. Whether or not Guy Davis or anyone else likes it, the fruit of the blues tree is available for all to pick regardless of race or nationality. Many have taken seeds and cuttings from it, we plant and graft them as best we can in the hope that others will recognize our unique hybrid.