The Birth of The Blues: W.C. Handy
Episode date - February 16, 2007
Well, here it is, our third and final episode discussing “The Birth of the Blues.” This has been a difficult and convoluted story and it required an awful lot of hard work, but it has also been very rewarding and a lot of fun.
With today’s show, we attempt to bring together the various elements that we discussed in the first two episodes and show how they all began to coalesce, and were eventually popularized. In order for the blues to be spread beyond their original geographic boundaries, it took someone with the foresight to ‘formalize’ this music, put it into written form, and then have it published.
W.C. Handy was in the right place at the right time. His own experience had exposed him to both the rural, countrified folk blues, and also to the formalized nature of European-based musical styles. By applying one to the other, he published a few ‘blues’ compositions that changed music as it had previously been experienced.
Here is a list of the songs covered in today’s program;
Fast Train – John Lee Thomas
Shortnin’/Henduck – Othar Turner & the Rising Star Fife & Drum Band
Coon Ci’nt (Coon Jine) – Sidney Strapling
Savassafool (Sebastapol) – Gus Gibson & Sidney Stripling
Mister Crump – W.C. Handy
Memphis Blues – Lieut. Jim Europe’s 39th Infantry band
Yellow Dog Blues – W.C. Handy
St. Louis Blues – W.C. Handy
St. Louis Blues – Bessie Smith
Long John – Lightning & Group
Long Gone – Louis Armstrong
Beale Street Blues – Nat King Cole
St. Louis Blues – Louis Armstrong