Friday, November 16, 2007


Long ago and far away, Mr. Wizard and I used to be fairly avid blues fans. St. Louis (our hometown) has a rich blues heritage, but few venues remain to hear blues. So we would make an occasional romantic pilgrimage to Chicago, where blues is more widely played. In fact, Mr. Wizard hauled his collection of scratchy blues LPs to Dominica with us.

Anyway, today we are celebrating the birthday in 1873 of W.C. Handy, the father of the blues. Of course, one of his best known songs is St. Louis Blues, a song not about the town, but rather about a woman from St. Louis. Handy lived to a ripe old age as part of the Harlem renaissance having forever changed the musical landscape.

Bessie Smith did a nice version of Handy's song and I found a video on You Tube. (If you read the blog via email, you will have to go to the webpage to view the video.) Bessie is a favorite of mine, and the story of her tragic death is haunting, but may be untrue. The legend goes that Bessie was involved in an auto accident in Jim Crow Mississippi, had to pass the closer white hospital and died after reaching the nearest Negro hospital. Some claim this story is true, others say it was created by a promoter. It is true, however, that her grave remained unmarked until Janis Joplin placed a stone in 1970.

Saint Louis Blues by Bessie Smith:

livingdominica: "I hate to see that evening sun go down..."


blueright said...

Hi Jen

Every Friday night I listen to a blues podcast called "Friday Night Beer & Blues". It will be posted today around 4-5 pm at . Last time I visited Dominica I gave it a listen. Double Sweet. Blues & Dominica. AHHHHHH

Jen said...

Thanks Blueright. We will give it a listen!