W. C. Handy and the “Birth” of the Blues

  title={W. C. Handy and the “Birth” of the Blues},
  author={Adam Gussow},
  journal={Southern Cultures},
  pages={42 - 68}
  • Adam Gussow
  • Published 7 January 2019
  • History
  • Southern Cultures
Metaphors of birth are a regular feature in the origin stories of vernacular American music. Middlebrow journalists and popular historians speak of the birth of jazz in New Orleans’s Storyville, the birth of rock ’n’ roll at Sun Studios in Memphis. But there is something uncanny about the tenacity with which the birth metaphor clings to the blues; many people through the years have found it almost impossible to think about the music’s origins without invoking it. In Dutchman (1964), playwright… 



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