Listen to the four “pre-blues” examples (“Arwhoolie,” “Grizzly Bear,” “K.C. Moan,” and “Forked Deer”). What do you hear in these songs that carries forward in the blues?

  1. Listen to the four “pre-blues” examples (“Arwhoolie,” “Grizzly Bear,” “K.C. Moan,” and “Forked Deer”). What do you hear in these songs that carries forward in the blues? What about in the instrumental styles? How might this relate to the historical shift from plantation slavery to Reconstruction as outlined in Alexander?
  2. Listen to “Crazy Blues” and “Black Snake Moan.” What style of blues is each of these? List two distinctive elements of each style.
    “Crazy Blues” “Black Snake Moan”
    Element 1
    Element 2
  3. Listen to “Levee Camp Blues” and analyze the narrative. What story does this song tell? Who might be speaking? What is their “take” on the events? Pay attention to the specific story but also the context in which it takes place. How might this song exemplify the blues as a genre or not?
  4. Listen to “Keep on the Sunnyside” and describe the overall feel of the song. What is the message? What sentiments do the lyrics express? How does the music support or work against these sentiments? What earlier forms might you relate the text or its musical setting to?
  5. Compare and contrast the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers as early country musical figures. In what ways do their music, biographies, and presentation illustrate distinct strands of the country genre? Give specific examples from the reading and media examples.
  6. Using Garofalo’s breakdown of “Blue Yodel #9” as a model, layout evidence of musical hybridity you hear in “New San Antonio Rose.” What are three elements that serve as evidence of the intercultural connections in country?
  7. List and briefly describe two (2) ways that recording, radio, or film technology shaped the blues and/or country.
  8. In the race record advertisements for “Dead Drunk Blues” and “Crap Shooting Blues” (in the lecture slides), identify two elements that show a continuation of racial representation from the minstrel tradition and two elements that counter minstrel representations. Describe each element and write a brief explanation.
  9. Now look at the ads for the Columbia Records “Old Familiar Tunes” and Paramount “Old Time Tunes” catalogue and. Identify two elements that showcase a stereotyped version of white southern, rural, working class people and write your explanation. How do these compare or contrast with the race record ads?
  10. Read the Anjali piece and compare it to the stories of early blues and country artists. What dynamics of the contemporary industry does Anjali point to that resonate with the early-20th century? What seems different? What do you make of Anjali’s choice? What about the magazine’s response? How would you personally reconcile getting your music heard with the economics of the industry?
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