TODAY SOMEONE ASKED me about the blues. I had said that I was living the blues. “What do you mean? The music?” No, not exactly. The blues are presented in the music. I guess you could stitch the two of them together, but the blues are bigger than the music. The blues are a belief system, a way or key to interpreting life. The way this belief system is presented is via the music. The music is the teachings of the system presented for the people. The architecture. The layout. This goes here, that over there. At their core, the blues are about survival. They are about people who have been kicked out, kicked low, kicked high, kicked, shoved, pushed, pulled, molested, hurt, pained by life, and yet keep moving on, no matter what, out the back door, in the front door, out the back window at night, in the front window in the morning. “When I first started hoboing,” sang John Lee Hooker, “I took a freight train to be my friend, Oh Lord.” That’s all it is right there. Solitude. Desperation. Loneliness. There is a monastic quality to the blues, yet one that does not demand of its adherents monastic qualities. No. No. You do whatever you need to get by. That is the tenet of the blues. You have to move.
One thought on “the architecture of the blues”
I remember a fellow singer saying others think I’m happy because I sing. Have they never heard of the blues is my reply.