Herodotus, the “Father of History,” called Egypt the gift of a river. The land of the Delta blues is also a gift of a river, not the Egyptian Nile, of course, but the American Mississippi. The Delta blues have deep roots which thrive in river-gifted soil. The blues have been derogatorily called “the Devil’s music,” but this stiff-necked judgment misses an essential point. For the blues assert one of the best qualities of true religion: empathy for the poor and ostracized. How do you hold on to your dignity in a world full of harsh, demeaning condescension? You sing the blues. That is the gift the blues bring to the exploited, the repressed, and the defiant ones who fight against dehumanization with every blues breath.
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STEPHEN C. SHAW is the retired Director of Administrative Rules for the State of New Hampshire. He retired at 50, and has been writing, painting, playing slide guitar, and traveling ever since. He lived abroad for four years, and has taught courses on the poetry of the blues in both Prague and Cambridge, England. His writing began in his teens and he has 30 or more books (plays, poetry, short stories, etc.) in his files being readied to be published by Parisburg Publishing in the coming years. See his web site for more details -- parisburg.com/authors/shaw.html
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