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Rock N Roll The History Of

4983 words - 20 pages

In many ways, the Blues was the soundtrack for black life under white Southern oppression. Economic conditions in the south were horrible from the civil war well into the 1940's. Daily life was a harsh economic struggle, the blues emerged as a reaction to the worsening of southern economy. From religion, to segregation, to unemployment, the blues evolved to reflect a changing social climate. Early blues songs told of extreme conditions in the fields, on the levees, in the work camps of the South. Prisons and prison life also played a very important defining role for the blues. Economic and social conditions in the South were definitely not favorable for the black population. Slavery was "over," reconstruction was over, leaving a lasting segregation permeating all aspects of life. The exodus into the Northern industrial cities was a search for a better life. As the blues moved into the dense urban area of the North, subjects and styles changed to fit its environment. In essence the blues is a musical form based on alienation, depression, and suffering. It is based on universal constructs, touching on subjects that have touched all of us at one time or another. It is very accessible. Still, the reasons for the blues may run much deeper. The era in which the blues emerged was unique to American history. The field songs, and work songs conveyed the sentiments of an established time. Hundreds of years of slavery defined the situations about which these songs were written. After slavery was abolished, the freedmen needed a new form of musical expression to deal with this new situation.Modern day rock and roll can be traced to numerous sources. For many, Rock and Roll began with the blues. Many of the bands that are my favorites today are directly related to the blues of the early 20's and 30's. It has been said that the blues grew out of the black field songs of the South. With its roots running heavily in gospel, and African rhythms the blues is a unique American musical tradition. It has filtered out, beyond our borders, but it originated in the States. Original bluesmen like Charlie Christian, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and T-Bone Walker are directly responsible for what is today termed as Rock and Roll. Christian and Jefferson were the first to be recognized for what is a very old process of musical evolution. The work songs of the late 1800's played an important role in shaping the content and character of the Blues. These work songs, and field hollers were personal testimony set to distinct vocal styles and rhythms. They are songs that tell the tale of everyday life under "King Cotton." (Benzon)The 1920's gave birth to what was to become the modern recording industry. For the first time, musicians on different sides of the country could listen to the same musical work. Ideas and styles quickly spread. The new recordings became a primary source of inspiration for the musicians of the 1920's and 30's. (Miller 7) 1920's radio played a large part in...

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