THE BLUES(13 Part History Of The Blues
By Mark Colbert
Chattanooga, TN. – THE BLUES
A 13-PART SERIES
SUNDAYS AT 4 PM
THE BLUES is a comprehensive chronicle of America's most enduring music form. You may not know that the blues is the direct antecedent of jazz, rock and roll, rhythm and blues, soul, rap, and virtually every popular music genre of the 20th century.
For the first time in radio history, THE BLUES highlites this major cultural movement - the roots of the blues are over a hundred years old and its branches continue to grow into the new millennium. WUTC - FM is proud to be able to broadcast this unique 13 part look at the blues.
Join Grammy Award winner Keb Mo' for this landmark series covering everything from the geographic and stylistic origins of the blues to its most contemporary sounds and styles. THE BLUES tells the full, rich story of this seminal roots music - more than any other genre, the blues forms the foundation of modern American popular music.
Each hour long episode uses new and archival interviews, recordings, and remotes from where blues history occurred as well as where the music thrives today. An incredible showcase of blues artistry, the series includes interviews with musical giants like B.B. King, Carlos Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Bonnie Raitt, as well as performances by Caphas & Wiggins, Taj Mahal, Shemekia Copeland, the North Mississippi Allstars, Rory Block and many others.
THE BLUES airs each Sunday afternoon at 4 PM. Thanks to Debi D. (host of LA House Party), for giving up an hour of her show to broadcast this special look at THE BLUES. Below is a run-down of each show in February 2004.
February 1st - Birth of the Blues"
The series opens with a celebration and definition of blues music. Interviewees include Carlos Santana, Mick Jagger, Chuck D, Martin Scorsese, B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and many more.
Though the blues is an American music form, its origins are undoubtedly African. The Blues begins with a journey through the music's roots in West Africa, where slaves were loaded onto ships bound for America.
Modern master Taj Mahal traces the sounds of different regions in Africa to the styles of contemporary music.
February 8th - Goin' Up the Country"
Locale: Mississippi Delta
No one knows for sure when the blues became a music form of its own, but most authorities agree it was in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
In addition to taking listeners to Clarksdale, MS, and the Delta Blues Museum, "Goin' Up the Country" documents the birth of recorded blues with the music of Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Blake, Charley Patton, Son House, and others.
This episode's concluding performance is from contemporary blueswoman Rory Block.
February 15th - Taint Nobody's Business If I Do"
Locale: Harlem, NY
The blues begins its integration into the American pop music canon when Mamie Smith records "Crazy Blues," launching the "race" records boom of the 1920s.
"Taint Nobody's Business If I Do" features first generation blues divas Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Sippie Wallace, and others backed by jazz bands led by the likes of Louis Armstrong and Lonnie Johnson.
The program concludes with an interpretation of Bessie Smith by 23-year-old Shemekia Copeland.
February 22nd - Standin' at the Crossroads: Robert Johnson and Depression- era Blues"
Locale: Mississippi Delta
This episode explores Depression-era styles, including the revolutionary music of Robert Johnson the single most important country blues artist of the pre-War era. It examines Johnson's legacy and investigates the "mythology" of the blues, including the battle between the sacred and the secular.
February 29th - Mystery Train"
Beale Street in Memphis was to blues what 52nd Street in New York was to jazz: Packed clubs, street musicians, all-night card games, ladies of the night, fights, and some of the best music heard anywhere.
Artists who launched careers in Memphis include B.B. King, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Sonny Boy Williamson, Ike Turner, and Little Milton.
The program concludes with a live recording by Richard Johnston from the 2003 W.C. Handy Awards, held every year in Memphis to honor the best in blues music.