How long has the genre of music known as the Blues been around? I’ll tell you, the Blues originated in the late 19th century, right here in America. Its inventors were slaves, ex-slaves and the descendants of slaves - African-American sharecroppers who sang as they worked in the fields. It wasn’t until the 1930-40’s that Blues area out significantly from the South to the Midwest but once it did it took off. From the Blues came Rhythm n’ Blues which begat Rock n’ Roll!
While blues lyrics often deal with personal adversity, the music itself goes far beyond self-pity. The blues is also about overcoming hard luck, saying what you feel, ridding yourself of frustration, letting your hair down, and just having fun. The best blues is visceral, cathartic, and starkly emotional. From unbridled joy to deep sadness, no form of music communicates more genuine emotion.
Now, what about the organizations that seek to preserve the traditions and music of the Blues, the Blues Societies? Well, the oldest and oldest continuously operating Blues Society in the United States is the Santa Barbara Blues Society, founded in March 1977. The primary mission of any good Blues Society is to preserve, perpetuate and promote blues music in the area in which they operate.
So, is this a competition to see which Blues Society can accrue the most members, put on the most gigs, hold the most jams? I say no, these organizations are here to Keep the Blues Alive! Does it make sense for one Blues Society to support another Blues Societies’ events, encourage folks to join if they are Blues fans in that area? Yes, the Blues Society is an organization whose purpose is to promote the Blues, not themselves.
We are such a divided people these days, just read the news if you dare. I believe we need to set the standard, set the example for everyone with whom we come in contact. Every Blues Society needs to lend their support to every other Blues Society, near and far. It's the righteous thing to do; it's the American way!