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Blues With a Message

Compact Disc (Audio)
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Jewel Case
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Blues With a Message
Blues With a Message


BLUES WITH A MESSAGE isn't just about lost love and the toils of specific lives, the blues (particularly within the folk-blues traditions) spent some time dealing with sociopolitical issues on the side, primarily before the rise of electric blues. Here, Arhoolie has compiled a set of pieces related to a surprisingly large number of issues. Among them: Minstrel shows, the mechanization of cotton farming, and its related exodus to the North, sharecropping, segregation, the Korean War, the influenza epidemic, the New Deal, civil rights movements, Chicago employment opportunities -- all are given a song or two here. The music quality is roughly equivalent to many of the folk-blues recordings available, though the "big name" artists are largely absent from this one (Lightnin Hopkins does make an appearance singing about sharecropping, however). The songs are deliberately focused on the issues more than the music, but the music can still carry its soul. This one probably won't be on many highest-sales lists in the blues, but it's both historically important and musically enjoyable. ~ Adam Greenberg, All Music Guide. Annotated by noted folklorist Paul Oliver. Tracks: I Have To Paint My Face - Sam Chatmon / John Henry - John Jackson / Walked Down So Many Turn Rows - Mercy Dee / Tom Moore's Farm - Mance Lipscomb / Tom Moore Blues - Lightnin' Hopkins / River Blues, Pts. 1&2 - Lowell Fulson / Levee Camp Blues - Mississippi Fred McDowell / The 1919 Influenza Blues - Essie Jenkins / Why I Like Roosevelt - Willie Eason / Little Soldier Boy - Doctor Ross / Prisoner's Talking Blues - Robert Pete Williams / I Got To Climb A High Mountain - Johnie Lewis / Depression Blues - Herman E Johnson / Stockyard Blues - Johnny Young, Big Walter Horton / What Will I Tell The Children - Juke Boy Bonner / It's Enough - Juke Boy Bonner / Things Gonna Get Better - Bee Houston / Back Home Blues - Joe Lee Williams.


  1. Name
  2. I Have To Paint My Face - Chatmon, Sam
  3. John Henry - Jackson, John (1)
  4. Walked Down So Many Turn Rows - Walton, Mercy Dee
  5. Tom Moore's Farm - Lipscomb, Mance
  6. Tom Moore Blues - Hopkins, Lightnin'
  7. River Blues - Fulson, Lowell
  8. Levee Camp Blues - McDowell, Fred
  9. 1919 Influenza Blues - Jenkins, Essie
  10. Why I Like Roosevelt - Eason, Willie
  11. Little Soldier Boy - Dr. Ross
  12. Prisoner's Talking Blues - Williams, Robert Pete
  13. I Got To Climb A High Mountain - Lewis, Johnny
  14. Depression Blues - Johnson, Herman
  15. Stockyard Blues - Young, Johnny & Big Walter
  16. What Will I Tell The Children - Bonner, Weldon 'Juke Boy'
  17. It's Enough - Bonner, Weldon 'Juke Boy'
  18. Things Gonna Get Better - Houston, Bee
  19. Back Home Blues - Williams, 'Big' Joe
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