Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Writers of the Blues

I'm a Blues fan. Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Robert Johnson, Pinetop Perkins, Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, B.B. King. There are so many great blues artists out there. One of the unique things about the blues is the sharing of songs. The Blues are American. They began like storytelling where one person would sing a song and travel around with it. Others would take it up and modify it for their own tastes. But there are some standards that all the greats have sung at one time or another.

The Blues started in the south. The main place they grew from was the Mississippi Delta. They moved up river with the Great Depression to the big cities in the north where the men went looking for jobs. Chicago was where they really took root and the electric blues were born from there.

But that uniquely southern talent of turning a phrase stayed with them no matter where they traveled.

Here are some of my favorite lines from a few of the great blues songs.

"You got another mule kickin' in your stall." - Long Distance Call - Howlin' Wolf

"If you don't like my peaches, please don't shake my tree"
If you don't like my potatoes, please don't dig up my vine" - Rollin' & Tumblin' - Elmore James

"Got my mojo working, but it just don't work on you." - Got My Mojo Working - Muddy Waters

"Shake your money maker" - Shake Your Money Maker - Paul Butterfield Blues Band

"Squeeze my lemon til the juice runs down my leg." - Traveling Riverside Blues - Robert Johnson (most notably, though he probably took it from another blues singer)

"Nobody loves me but my mother. And she might be jivin' too." - Nobody Loves Me But My Mother - B.B. King

Great lines. Inventive and fun.

Next time. The great brags of old.


Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

I didn't know the blues came out of Mississippi. I'll be starting a book set in 1929 soon, so I'll be studying that era.

Ava Quinn said...

Good luck on your book set, Jennifer! Thanks for stopping by.

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