chapter
6 Pages

Introduction

It is difficult to imagine what North American popular music would be like if there had been no blues. This African American song form, a phenomenon of the last decade of the nineteenth century, which evolved and flourished in the southern United States and African American enclaves in the urban North, has become an integral part of the fabric of twentieth-century popular and commercial music traditions. Jazz, country, bluegrass, rock, and pop songs would not exist in their present forms without the influence of the blues. That the blues, almost since its inception, has existed simultaneously as a form of American folksong and a commercial form of popular song partly explains its pervasiveness and its strength.