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In The Blues News, you'll find the more timely things to be said from our blues world. You also get Living Blues magazine's annual top 50 blues CD's and The Blues Foundation's annual W.C. Handy Awards results. You'll also find newsworthy contributions from your fellow readers of The Blues News, so be sure to check back regularly. Thank you for reading The Blues News. blues

Winner and nominees for Best Traditional Blues Album:
Richland Woman Blues, Maria Muldaur (Stony Plain); Here And Now, Ike Turner & The Kings Of Rhythm (Ikon); Memphis Blood: The Sun Sessions, James Blood Ulmer (Label M); Hellhound On My Trail: The Songs Of Robert Johnson, Various Artists (Telarc Blues); Do You Get The Blues?, Jimmie Vaughan (Artemis); Smokin' Joint, Kim Wilson (M.C.).blues

Clubs and Bars
Clubs and bars offering live blues.  blues

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When African and European music first began to merge to create what eventually became the blues, the slaves sang songs filled with words telling of their extreme suffering and privation. (Tanner 36) One of the many responses to their oppressive environment resulted in the field holler. The field holler gave rise to the spiritual, and the blues, "notable among all human works of art for their profound despair . . . They gave voice to the mood of alienation and anomie that prevailed in the construction camps of the South," for it was in the Mississippi Delta that blacks were often forcibly conscripted to work on the levee and land-clearing crews, where they were often abused and then tossed aside or worked to death. (Lomax 233)

Alan Lomax states that the blues tradition was considered to be a masculine discipline (although some of the first blues songs heard by whites were sung by 'lady' blues singers like Mamie Smith and Bessie Smith) and not many black women were to be found singing the blues in the juke-joints. The Southern prisons also contributed considerably to the blues tradition through work songs and the songs of death row and murder, prostitutes, the warden, the hot sun, and a hundred other privations. (Lomax) The prison road crews and work gangs where were many bluesmen found their songs, and where many other blacks simply became familiar with the same songs. blues

Following the Civil War (according to Rolling Stone), the blues arose as "a distillate of the African music brought over by slaves. Field hollers, ballads, church music and rhythmic dance tunes called jump-ups evolved into a music for a singer who would engage in call-and-response with his guitar. He would sing a line, and the guitar would answer it." (RSR&RE 53) (author's note: I've seen somewhere, that the guitar did not enjoy widespread popularity with blues musicians until about the turn of the century. Until then, the banjo was the primary blues instrument.) By the 1890s the blues were sung in many of the rural areas of the South. (Kamien 518) And by 1910, the word 'blues' as applied to the musical tradition was in fairly common use. (Tanner 40)

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