The oral tradition made the blues possible . . .

Highway 61 shield . . . when there was no other means of communicating our history, our experiences, our faith, and our pain. W.C. Handy did not begin to pen those monotonous sounds until about 1911, and John and Alan Lomax did not create their first field recordings until 20 years later. Despite their landmark contributions, we have surely lost to the ages the earliest and most significant origins of the music we love today.

The technology of our time, however remarkable, cannot resurrect or even simulate that which we'll never know. But we can do this. The following essays represent the knowledge, experiences, and musings of several writers who in their own ways seek to chronicle today's remnants of the blues tradition. These works are used with permission of the authors, each of whom retain their respective copyrights. Please do not reproduce or distribute them without their knowledge and permission.

Journeys Of Discovery

The Delta Log: Our seven-day journey through the land where the blues
See more than 60 photos from New Orleans to Clarksdale.

The Great Norwegian US Blues Trip '95: Follow four Norwegian friends
as they live the blues from Texas to Chicago.

The Delta Log 1996: The Highway to Helena through Dr. King's Alabama,
up to Memphis, and down to Helena and the King Biscuit Blues Festival.

Sunflower Scrapbook '97: P.W. Fenton's photojournal of his visit to the
1997 Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Arne Brogger Remembers

The Memphis Blues Caravan: "You best not be doin' what I think you're doin'."

Furry Lewis: "Coming off stage, he would ask, 'Are they standin' up?"

Bukka White: "He threw his arms around Bukka. The audience erupted."

Joe Willie Wilkins and Houston Stackhouse: "Then Joe Willie said, 'Man,
isn't that a beautiful tune?"

Memphis Piano Red: "In 1980, I got a letter saying that Red was dead."

The Blues Comes To The BBC: "Who did he think he was talking to?
Cotton Eyed Joe?!"

Charles Sawyer Considers

The Legacy of B.B. King -- the complete version

The Legacy of B.B. King -- the abridged version

"B.B. King Der Legendare Konig Des Blues" -- author's note

And More Fine Essays

The Blues: Calling For A Response by Thomas "Tomcat" Colvin

A Brief History Of The Blues by Robert M. Baker

Byther Smith: Working Man's Blues by Niles Frantz

Can't Find No Heaven: The Mysteries Of Skip James by Matt R. Lohr

The Crossroads by Daniel Leary

Hangin' With Mr. Rhodes by Curtis Hewston

Johnson vs. Harris, et al. by the Supreme Court of Mississippi

led bucket o'blood by rachel s. hanks

The 1995 Chicago Blues Festival by Niles Frantz

The 1996 Chicago Blues Festival by Niles Frantz

Remembering Brownie by Nancy Eaton

Rural Blues by Ethan Crosby

W.C. Handy by Emily B. Ward

What Is Blues? by Edward Liu

Go To:

Robert Johnson / W.C. Handy / Willie Dixon

The Delta Map / The Index

To return to The Intro, click here.

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