What is the Blues The different Blues genres

The Blues and the Afro-American music

Blues as it is currently known draws its origins out of the simple songs, of African origin and perpetuated by an oral tradition, that the American black slaves sang in the 19th century in the cotton fields of the Mississippi to support their painful tasks.

Mainly sung a capella by a person and repeated by choruses, the Blues was sometimes accompanied by rudimentary instruments: a cord fixed on a board, small percussion instruments.

Very quickly this base evolves to integrate elements of the European and American music giving it this so particular and yet so familiar esthetics to everyone. This combination of various influences will contribute to develop other kinds of music: the negro spiritual, the gospel, jazz, the rhythm'n Blues, the soul, the rap.

The Blues evolves with its time. Initially acoustic and mainly interpreted with an harmonica and an acoustic guitar which remain the base of the Blues, it has evolved to electric forms integrating the electric guitar, the piano and the organ and even horn sections.

An excellent definition of the Blues is that of Willie Dixon,” The Blues are the roots, the rest are the fruits “.

The Blues : sacred music or music of the devil ?


Robert Johnson

One of the first evolutions of the Blues was the negro spiritual, which was used to accompany the religious ceremonies. One can thus say that the Blues has a crowned face. On the contrary, the Blues being the reflection of the human personality, it also has other facets: festive, humorous, and dark obviously.


One of the outstanding legends related to the demoniac side of the Blues was obviously that conveyed by Robert Johnson who claimed to have improved his guitar play by selling his soul to the devil. But isn't this quite simply a brilliant ”marketing“ demonstration  and a beautiful revenge to gain its place at the sides of the stars of that time that were Chalrey Patton and Son House that the latter disparaged ?

The Blues has always been the reflection of the cultural, political, social, or human difficulties. For this reason, no other music on this earth is a better reflection of our emotions and our heart. And to avoid the puritanism of certain times, maybe not so completetely over than that, the Blues kenw how to becom humorous, scoundrel, and was often declined at a second degree. An example : "I got my mojo working". At first, this alleviationg sentence simply states that my mojo (amulet) works well. Perhaps... but that means also and especially that "my sex works very welle"... Now that you know it, you understand why this song of Muddy Waters is one of the greatest successes of the Blues. It's now up to you to find other hidden meanings...

The Blues : the expression of our soul !

A thing is sure. No other music can, like the Blues does it, being the reflection of our heart and to help us to stand our sufferings, whatever they are.

Are you suffering ? Then listen to a Blues record, you will not be more depressed as many people wrongly think. If during the 19th century it contributed to stand the hard agricultural work of the slaves, don't you think that today it can help you to leave your torments ? Listen to a little bit of John Lee Hooker "The Healer" every evening, then come back to see me in one week ;-).