Why the Blues?
US Highway 61, The Blues Highway, rivals Route 66 as the most famous road in American music lore.
Dozens of blues artists have recorded songs about Highway 61, guys like Sunnyland Slim, James “Son” Thomas, “Honeyboy” Edwards, Big Joe Williams, Joe McCoy, Charlie Musselwhite, Johnny Young, Eddie Burns, and Mississippi Fred McDowell. Even Bob Dylan paid tribute.
For every artist who wrote a song about it, even more of them traveled this storied highway, singing the blues as they went. Robert Johnson died and is buried just about in sight of it. It was at the famed Crossroads of Highways 61 and 49 that he sold his soul to the Devil for the chance to be a great bluesman. I think Johnson got the best part of the deal.
Why the Blog?
Simple. We want to hear the blues, live the blues, travel the blues, and then share the blues. From the raggediest juke joint to the tinniest-sounding honky tonk, from Mississippi sharecropper cabins to the shiny, sophisticated clubs of Saint Louis and Chicago, from the Delta to the big city, we're spending the summer in search of the blues.
Who has the blues? Why do they have the blues? How do you get the blues? And why would you want them? You've already read some of Ben's reporting on that, but there's more.
If we throw in a review from time to time of the local BBQ joints, diners, motels, and laundromats along the way, you'll understand. It's all part of the search.
Recorder is ON, laptops are CHARGED, Prius is GASSED UP -- let's go get The Blues.