Rolling With The Blues

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photoYou may not have noticed, but Congress has declared 2003 "The Year of the Blues." As if the Blues need a boost. And maybe they do. It's been a long time since Blues recordings were hot sellers.

But the power and influence of the Blues runs through American music, culture, and the national psyche in a much deeper way. The generous legacy of the bitter African-American experience, the Blues became a shared universal language that spoke to country migrating Blacks in unfamiliar industrial cities and to wide-eyed white teenagers in Eisenhower's America.

This year, record companies will re-release old Blues catalogues gathering dust on the shelves. This weekend, a series of films on the Blues by Martin Scorcese and six top Hollywood directors begins running on public television. It's a celebration of an audacious artform that holds sorrow and transcendance, the sacred and the knowing sin all in the same breath.

Click the "Listen" link to hear about the legacy of the Blues.


Peter Guralnick, co-editor of the companion book to "Martin Scorcese Presents the Blues: A Musical Journey," author of "Searching for Robert Johnson" and a two-volume biography on the life of Elvis Presley

Bobby Rush, Blues singer and musician featured in "The Road to Memphis" film from the series

This program aired on September 26, 2003.


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