In the 1920’s or 1930’s, the famous American folk singer, Pete Seeger, as a teenager, accompanied his father on a trip. His father worked for the Smithsonian Institute and his task was to travel through the south and discover iconic and “undiscovered music” that should be preserved. They left Washington and traveled the Carolinas, Georgia and the Mississippi Delta. They asked the locals about their music. And it was upon this trip, they discovered Hudie Leadbetter. Commonly known as Leadbelly now. His most famous song was Goodnight Irene, locally. Pete’s band, the Weavers, later had a hit with it.
Just an odd example how thoughtful politics can preserve thoughtful art.
It’s been said, that after emancipation occurred, Negro music traveled up the Mississippi river. Jazz in the south, Memphis Blues half way there and Chicago Blues in the fifties and sixties. The further north it got, the less genteel it got and the harder it got. Rural to urban. It’s always fascinated me.
This video is the confluence between Seeger and Dylan, the one who brought folk sensibilities to Rock n Roll.
I’m no musical scholar but if I were to start again, that’s where I would start.