If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDEDFOR THE EXISTENCE OF GODWAS MUSIC
We start our lives with blues . . . with music. It's our first language. It's the rhythm of the womb. It's your mama's heartbeat inside your head.
I value individuals and societies. I care about those who are not born yet. That is the reason for my joys and blues.
Amy [Winehouse] changed pop music forever, I remember knowing there was hope, and feeling not alone because of her. She lived jazz, she lived the blues.
....Charles laughingly observed,'Gospel and the blues are really, if you break it down, almost the same thing. It's just a question of whether you're talkin' about a woman or God.
Now listen for your song. Everybody’s got a song. When I used to chase the Trane— John Coltrane that is— he used to tell me, ‘If I know a man’s sound, I know the man.’ Do you hear the melody playing in your mind? Does it move you, nudge you off your seat?
Stop thinking about the steps. There are no moves in blues, only movement. Just listen to the music,” Matt whispered into my ear.I let go, softening into his arms. The sways became steps, and without even realising, I was dancing.
Night after night on starry wingsNight lovers soared so highMiles apart, across the oceansTheir love forgot to sighIn heavenly flight’s timelessnessThat highest height treasuredInto the deepest of all bluesTheir depth of love measured.From the poem 'The Ballad of Night Lovers
Have you got any soul? a woman asks the next afternoon. That depends, I feel like saying; some days yes, some days no. A few days ago I was right out; now I've got loads, too much, more than I can handle. I wish I could spread it a bit more evenly, I want to tell her, get a better balance, but I can't seem to get it sorted. I can see she wouldn't be interested in my internal stock control problems though, so I simply point to where I keep the soul I have, right by the exit, just next to the blues.
The guitar poured out its soul, its history, its dreams, its pain, its victories, its secrets. The guitar’s strings purred with blues and ended with a haunting solitary song with no lyrics.
The guitar breathed. It inhaled and exhaled, and music filled the shop as the instrument picked the heartbreak of generations.
A real musician ain’t gonna choose his own guitar like an evil master choosing his slave. The guitar will choose his master and when he does, you’ll know it.
For me there is something primitively soothing about this music, and it went straight to my nervous system, making me feel ten feet tall.
She's no lady. Her songs are all unbelievably unhappy or lewd. It's called Blues. She sings about sore feet, sexual relations, baked goods, killing your lover, being broke, men called Daddy, women who dress like men, working, praying for rain. Jail and trains. Whiskey and morphine. She tells stories between verses and everyone in the place shouts out how true it all is.
At first the music almost repelled me, it was so intense, and this man made no attempt to sugarcoat what he was trying to say, or play. It was hard-core, more than anything I had ever heard. After a few listenings I realized that, on some level, I had found the master, and that following this man's example would be my life's work.
I'm a bluesman moving through a blues-soaked America, a blues-soaked world, a planet where catastrophe and celebration- joy and pain sit side by side. The blues started off in some field, some plantation, in some mind, in some imagination, in some heart. The blues blew over to the next plantation, and then the next state. The blues went south to north, got electrified and even sanctified. The blues got mixed up with jazz and gospel and rock and roll.
When Johnson started singing, he seemed like a guy who could have sprung from the head of Zeus in full armor.
...I have sometimes thought that the mere hearing of those songs would do more to impress some minds with the horrible character of slavery, than the reading of whole volumes of philosophy on the subject could do.I did not, when a slave, understand the deep meaning of those rude and apparently incoherent songs. I was myself within the circle; so that I neither saw nor heard as those without might see and hear. They told a tale of woe which was then altogether beyond my feeble comprehension; they were tones loud, long, and deep; they breathed the prayer and complaint of souls boiling over with bitterest anguish. Every tone was a testimony against slavery, and a prayer to God for deliverance from chains. The hearing of those wild notes always depressed my spirit, and filled me with ineffable sadness. I have frequently found myself in tears while hearing them. The mere recurrence to those songs, even now, afflicts me; and while I am writing these lines, an expression of feeling has already found its way down my cheek. To those songs I trace my first glimmering conception of the dehumanizing character of slavery. I can never get rid of that conception. Those songs still follow me, to deepen my hatred of slavery, and quicken my sympathies for my brethren in bonds. If any one wishes to be impressed with the soul-killing effects of slavery, let him go to Colonel Lloyd's plantation, and, on allowance-day, place himself in the deep pine woods, and there let him, in silence, analyze the sounds that shall pass through the chambers of his soul, - and if he is not thus impressed, it will only be because there is no flesh in his obdurate heart.I have often been utterly astonished, since I came to the north, to find persons who could speak of the singing, among slaves, as evidence of their contentment and happiness. It is impossible to conceive of a greater mistake. Slaves sing most when they are most unhappy. The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart; and he is relieved by them, only as an aching heart is relieved by its tears. At least, such is my experience. I have often sung to drown my sorrow, but seldom to express my happiness. Crying for joy, and singing for joy, were alike uncommon to me while in the jaws of slavery. The singing of a man cast away upon a desolate island might be as appropriately considered as evidence of contentment and happiness, as the singing of a slave; the songs of the one and of the other are prompted by the same emotion.
You see, there's some blues for folks ain't never had a thing, and that's a sad blues ... but the saddest kind of blues is for them that's had everything they ever wanted and has lost it, and knows it won't come back no more. Ain't no sufferin' in this world worse than that; and that's the blue we call 'I Had It But It's All Gone Now.
If you don't know the blues... there's no point in picking up the guitar and playing rock and roll or any other form of popular music.
Depression is a disorder of mood, so mysteriously painful and elusive in the way it becomes known to the self--to the mediating intellect--as to verge close to being beyond description. It thus remains nearly incomprehensible to those who have not experienced it in its extreme mode, although the gloom, the blues which people go through occasionally and associate with the general hassle of everyday existence are of such prevalence that they do give many individuals a hint of the illness in its catastrophic form.
Those who have not lived in New Orleans have missed an incredible, glorious, vital city--a place with an energy unlike anywhere else in the world, a majority-African American city where resistance to white supremacy has cultivated and supported a generous, subversive, and unique culture of vivid beauty. From jazz, blues, and and hip-hop to secondlines, Mardi Gras Indians, jazz funerals, and the citywide tradition of red beans and rice on Monday nights, New Orleans is a place of art and music and food and traditions and sexuality and liberation.
What were good and evil, really, but stupid categories? Stupid categoriesthat restricted people and punished or rewarded them based on how they responded to their own natures, natures they really didn't have any way to control.
And a ride in a hearse tells us we’re all close to that final cruise . . . when the body dies and we move on. It’s just the body, man. It’s just the body. The soul’s already gone. So don’t be afraid of a dead body absent a soul. It’s empty, man. No resident. What you need to worry about is a living body that’s lost its soul. Now that is scary, man.” - Funk N. Wagnalls, owner of the Grim Reapers auto lot, a character in Professor Brown Shoes Teaches the Blues.