Show Business: Best of the Blues

No one else could have cried the song with the same blue, bittersweet sadness. No one else could have filled the familiar words with the same heart-heavy longing for rest and ease. So they turned on a phonograph and let Big Bill Broonzy sing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot at his own funeral.

"Young people have forgotten how to cry the blues," said Big Bill Broonzy as he lay dying in a dark room above the littered streets of Chicago's Negro South Side. "Back in my day, the people didn't know nothing else to do but cry. They couldn't say about things that...

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