Saturday, December 05, 2009

Bonnie Greer: The blues, Obama and me

The Independent - read the full article here

The Devil At The Crossroads

Traditional blues is not about analyses and codification. It is about signs and portents, deeply felt emotion plainly spoken; forbidden sex; doomed love; intuition; chance; and a world without the God you were given when they threw you off the boat after the Middle Passage. Pretty frightening stuff at the high tables of the West. The real blues is about feeling when to come in, feeling when to do it.

The Delta Blues – named after that region of the state of Mississippi located on the delta of the Mississippi River, one of the ancestral homes of South Siders – is father of the Chicago blues sound. This Chicago blues sound would have permeated all of the places Obama worked and lived in, saturating what many would have seen as his rather laid-back West Coast-Honolulu ambience. Twelve-bar blues would have knocked the ukulele for six.

Slim Harpo is the man your mother warned you about; the guy you bump into in a bar and decide to run away with; the one who doesn't give a hang about anything, and mostly that includes you. After all, hypocrisy is his enemy. Slim's blues are not for the faint-hearted.

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