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Definition of "The Blues" by John Lee Hooker (August 22, 1917 - June 21, 2001)
"…the blues was here the day that the world was born. Sadness, loneliness; it come from man and woman. A woman gets sad 'bout her man done left her, man gets sad 'bout his woman done left him … started hummin' sad songs. Somethin' 'bout a woman. You can't say nothin' … a man can't say nothin' that ain't about a woman. A woman can't say nothin' without sayin' somethin' about a man. That's what it come from, now, 'cause even Adam was in the garden. It's no sin. Do you see in the Bible anywhere where singin' is a sin? This leads into what I'm going to say. God, if there is such a thing as God, because we all believe in a Supreme Being: he wants you to do right, love people all over the world, and that's what I'm doing. I'm serving people all over. I'm serving people, I'm reachin' out, getting' people, helpin' people. I do benefits, I gives 'em. That's treatin' 'em as God want. And I never see 'em, I never will see 'em. But my voice is all over the world. John Lee Hooker on a record. I'll be here for ever, but my body won't. Accordin' to the Bible, you doin' what God want you to do: help people . People that need help: the sick, the needy, crippled kids. I do's all of that. I study givin'. I'm a Christian, but I just don't run to church. I don't believe in runnin' to church. I don't believe in getting' on my knees prayin'. I don't believe in that."
"…I don't know nothin' that'll stop me from playin' the blues. I'll never retire. I'll be doing this until God Jehovah call me to the next world, and I'm hopin' I can play there. Once you a blues singer in your blood, you can retire from the public, but in your heart and in your blood you never retire 'til you gone. You know I wrote that song --- me and Van Morrison did it --- called 'Never Get Out of These Blues Alive?' I'll never --- I'll never get out of these blues alive. Yeah."
"I never build myself us. I let the people do that. I'm the most laid-back person, and I let them build me up. If you ask me, I say, 'I''m just a guy playin' some blues."
- from Boogie Man by Charles Murray (2000)
Playing the Blues for Cows by Georgia Tommy Dorsey
"Went down to Columbus Georgia, to play the theater down there with Ma Rainey. Put us on a big truck and carried us all around the town ballyhooin', you know, one of those things, just to attract the attention. Couldn't nothin' play but th wind insturments and the drum --- couldn't put no piano up there. Yeah, the old ballyhoo, we called it. We done that many times. We did that down in South Carolina or somewhere, and we got out of the town. I guess it was on the way to the next little town --- the next settlement --- and on the side of the road was a lot of cattle, out in the pasture. And of course this impressed me. And the cows were standing in groups, huddles, or whatever you want to call it. And we said, 'Let's stop this truck. Let's play for these cows and see them run.' And we started cuttin' that jazz loose there. Cows run --- no; cows didn't move. Cows listened. Do you know one thing? Them cows walked up to the fence and listened to us play! Didn't a cow run. I said, 'Well, there must be something in the music."
- from The Voice of the Blues by Jim O'Neal
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