Blues Music: Back To The Roots

Long before Aretha demanded respect, black female vocalists discovered liberation in the blues

Blues music emerged in the aftermath of U.S. slavery. With a lineage consisting largely of spirituals and work songs, the blues was the first musical genre to reflect black people's experience of "freedom" in the U.S.

While emancipation did not bring them socioeconomic freedom, formerly enslaved blacks enjoyed a new latitude in travel and sexuality. For the first time they could move from place to place as they chose, and for the first time they could make their own decisions about sexual relationships. Consequently, themes of travel and sexuality permeate the blues. Sexuality, in particular, came to symbolize freedom, and a...

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