One night in 1903 at the Tutwiler train station in Mississippi,

William Christopher Handy, an African American cornettist, composer and leader of a dance band,

heard for the first time a « strange music » played by a local musician.

It made a strong and lasting impression on him.

Following this encounter Handy created his own legend giving himself the title of « Father of the Blues ».

He soon published many sophisticated compositions, all with titles ending with the word « blues »,

including his most famous one : « The Saint Louis Blues ».

W.C. Handy’s compositions probably have very little in common with that « strange music », a rural form that

followed its own path and achieved wide popularity under the names of Country Blues and Delta Blues.

The specific origin of the blues remains an unanswered question.

Some musicians made that claim of paternity

and some specialists attributed it to a single person or another.

Without any risk of been mistaken,

we can assert that the blues was originally a collective creation that blossomed over a period of several decades

in a territory as large as the entire « Old South ».

copyright © 2015 Jacques Moury Beauchamp
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