Blues music emerged from the cotton fields and little towns of the rural American South of the 1890s, drawing from African-American spirituals, folk ballads, work tunes, and field hollers. By the time the very first blues tunes were released as sheet music in 1917– consisting of “Memphis Blues” by Useful– the blues had actually taken the type we acknowledge today with a 12-bar “AAB” lyrical structure, unique vocal methods, and “call and action” singing.
Blues progressed as a distinctly African-American art type and contributed to a young nation’s popular culture from the Mississippi Delta and Texas, to the Piedmont region of the Carolinas. The start of the blues story shows the history of African Americans dating back to the standard folk tunes of Africa. It includes their forced migration through the dark scary of slavery, their desperate struggle for liberty, and the oppression they experienced in the Zip Coon and Jim Crow South.
The so-called “race music” of the 1930s and early ’40s transitioned to the more socially appropriate, rhythm and blues of the post-war age, as blues incorporated into the white popular culture. In a span of less than fifty years, the original folk blues of the 1920s ultimately ended up being the structure of the tremendously popular British and American blues movement of the 1960s and ’70s.
The story of the blues continues to influence music and dance today, pressing the African American culture to a position of prominence and impact in American society. Just after the turn of the 21st century, Congress stated 2003 the “Year of the Blues” to celebrate the 100th anniversary of W.C. Handy’s possibility encounter with an unknown blues singer at a Mississippi train station. Throughout this duration, a brand-new generation of contemporary blues dancers, led by Damon Stone and dozens of other young, entrepreneurial dance instructors throughout the country, were taking to the floorings to teach and celebrate the original blues dance design.