Southern states celebrating "America's music" should remember the direct line between our original sin & the blues.
Tony Fletcher, Salon
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King plays during his 10,000th career performance in an appearance at his club in New York in 2006. (Credit: AP/Richard Drew)
May 15, 2015 | We all have to go sometime. And hopefully, B. B. King was able to reflect in his twilight years that he had lived a longer, greater and more illustrious life than he ever might have imagined when he was born in the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta back in 1925. He has passed away at the grand old age of 89.
I have found myself listening extensively to the blues over this past year or so. There is not a direct musical connection here to my biography of Wilson Pickett, who went straight from gospel to R&B and soul. But it has helped further inform my understanding of the culture of the deep South, the music that came out of the slavery experience, and how it then traveled, via the Great Migration, to the big cities of the industrial North. Just recently, I found myself listening to B.B. King’s classic “Why I Sing the Blues” and had to stop what I was doing to truly register the opening verse.
Tony Fletcher's many books include "Dear Boy," a biography of Keith Moon; "A Light That Will Never Go Out: The Enduring Saga of the Smiths" and "R.E.M.: Perfect Circle."
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