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The Ethos of the Blues

The Ethos of the Blues The Ethos ol the Blues Larry Neal It's the mood . . .. That's the carry-over from slavery-nothing but trouble in sight for everyone. There was no need to hitch your wagon to a star be­ cause there wasn 't any stars. You got only what you fought for . Spirituals were the natural release- "Times gonna git better in de promised land" - but many a stevedore knew only too well that his fate was definitely tied up in his own hands . If he was clever and strong, and didn 't mind dying, he came through - the weak ones always died. A blue mood- since prayers often seemed futile the words were made to fit present situations that were much more real and certainly more urgent. - Clarence Willi.ams talking to E. Simms Campbell in Jazzmen This "mood" to which Clarence Williams refers is the characteristic personality or ethos that informs the spirituals and the gospel songs. This "mood" or mode is the emotional archetype from which the blues spring. The blues, with all of their contradictions, represent, for better or for worse, the essential vector of the Afro-American sensibility and identity. Birthing themselves sometimes between http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Black Sacred Music Duke University Press

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Copyright
Copyright © 1992 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1043-9455
eISSN
2640-9879
DOI
10.1215/10439455-6.1.36
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The Ethos ol the Blues Larry Neal It's the mood . . .. That's the carry-over from slavery-nothing but trouble in sight for everyone. There was no need to hitch your wagon to a star be­ cause there wasn 't any stars. You got only what you fought for . Spirituals were the natural release- "Times gonna git better in de promised land" - but many a stevedore knew only too well that his fate was definitely tied up in his own hands . If he was clever and strong, and didn 't mind dying, he came through - the weak ones always died. A blue mood- since prayers often seemed futile the words were made to fit present situations that were much more real and certainly more urgent. - Clarence Willi.ams talking to E. Simms Campbell in Jazzmen This "mood" to which Clarence Williams refers is the characteristic personality or ethos that informs the spirituals and the gospel songs. This "mood" or mode is the emotional archetype from which the blues spring. The blues, with all of their contradictions, represent, for better or for worse, the essential vector of the Afro-American sensibility and identity. Birthing themselves sometimes between

Journal

Black Sacred MusicDuke University Press

Published: Mar 1, 1992

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