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The Mississippi River winds it's way through the middle of the America like a huge brown snake. The river was the primary conduit of trade before the advent of railroads and highways. The mighty river also annually carried tons fertile silt from the heartland of America downriver to be deposited layer upon layer on the Delta. The rich topsoil was the black gold of the South, establishing a powerful agrarian economy as year after year it yielded rich harvests of cotton and sugar cane.

The river is inexorably tied to the culture and the music of America. The economic strength of the South was based on the plantation and tenant farm systems that housed small communities of black laborers from whom the traveling bluesmen of the 1920's and 30's made their living playing house parties and honky-tonks.

The Great Flood of 1927 wrecked the Delta leaving hundreds of thousands homeless, their farmland covered by floodwaters. The tenant laborers and their families were herded to camps. Other restrictive emergency policies included forced labor gangs in place in some places, specifically Greenville in the heart of the Delta in Washington County Mississippi (very near the home of Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, Willie Brown, Son House and others), where black men where forced to work on the levees at gunpoint with no pay. The only good consequence of this desperate attempt to keep the labor force on the land was that it brought the attention of the nation on the plight of "emancipated" black man in the South. The destruction of thousands of tenant farms and plantations caused a mass exodus of Southern black farmworker's to northern cities, particularly Chicago. The musicians and the music followed their fans. Delta bluesmen carried the music to the North where it evolved into the electric blues now known as the Chicago blues.

The blues was born in the Delta and carried upriver by itinerant musicians. Each part of the country adopted the blues, evolving uniquely local expressions of the music. Travel upriver to Baton Rouge and check Lightnin' Slim's, Jay Miller produced swamp blues, or just west of river towards Lafayette and taste the zydeco cajun/blues gumbo. Go farther north for the Memphis jug band sound. Up to Kansas City with it's big city swing brought up from the country blues players of Texas. On to Chicago, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy...all that went before and all to come. The Blues are alive and kickin'.

In the show we cover a variety of blues indigenous to Louisiana including swamp blues and some New Orleans R&B. We hope you enjoy the material on the website. In our own small way we hope to contribute to the tradition of the wandering bluesmen by bringing this folk music from my homeland to your town.

So much is owed to those that came before, but I cannot close without thanking my friend and mentor the late great J.D. Miller for the inspiration and home-spun wisdom he provided in life and the musical legacy of blues and honky-tonk classics he left behind.

 

I also want to thank my late friend Bob Lyng. Aside from being a widely read music business law author, Bob was my longtime partner promoting and distributing roots music. I miss you bro.

 

AND A VERY SPECIAL THANKS TO MY BLUES BROTHERS & SISTERS EVERYWHERE.....FOR BELIEVING & FOR KEEPING THE BLUES ALIVE!!

 

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