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Category Archives: – Pre Blues era

– The blackface lumpenproletariat and American popular culture

PDF-version here ___________________ In a previous essay on African-American music[i], I subscribed to the thesis that its study is most fruitful when it is seen as a dynamic cultural evolution resulting from the complex interaction between the black and white populations.  African-American music is not a survival that erodes over time, but a generative force […]

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– The blues, they are no art

READ THE PDF-VERSION HERE Do I sound provocative? What if I contend moreover that strictly speaking the blues were denatured the very minute their first notes were put on paper sometime around the turn of the first decade of the 19th century?  If I claim furthermore that the epithet “the blues” has become less and […]

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– How criticism helped the vaudeville: The spotlight on Franklin “Baby” Seals

Read the print-friendly version here   I have always had a soft spot for persons and events which for whatever reason have fallen out of grace in history books. Often, their story discloses much more of their environment than the historic relics which have been promoted on a pedestal, for the historic aura of the […]

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– Wagner, Beethoven & Negro Folksongs, and … baseball

[Read the print-friendly version here] Introduction & acknowledgement In his book “The Bluesman: The Musical Heritage of Black Men and Women in the Americas” (1992), Julio Finn, himself a blues musician wrote: “[White blues performers] can never be bluespeople […] because the blues is not something they live but something they do  – which makes […]

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– The Whitman Sisters: why we may never silence them.

For the colored PDF-version, click here _______________________________ “Black Voices, White Visions.” Such was the subtitle Marybeth Hamilton (2007) reserved for her book “In Search of the Blues”, in which she argues that the concept of the Delta Blues emerged in the late twentieth century mainly as the product of a longstanding white fascination with the […]

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