Folk/Country (Folk Blues)


After the Civil War (1860-1865) some newly freed former slaves went emigrated to northern cities like Chicago and Detroit looking for work, bringing their church spirituals and planting the very earliest seed of Chicago blues but most stayed in Southern communities and continued to struggle to feed their families (and to sing songs about doing just that). A smaller but substantial number of African-American workers took jobs building the railroads in the American west and ended up populating the new “boomtowns” that rose along railroad lines. These workers brought their music with them, adding lyrics about freedom in this world to the prevailing themes of struggle–toil in the current world, freedom in Heaven–developing a music that came to be called “folk-blues.” We’ll take note of this musical advance and delve deeply into the history of American blues in a later week.

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