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Time in the Blues$
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Julia Simon

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190666552

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190666552.001.0001

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Time, Tradition, Performance, and the Aesthetic Object

Time, Tradition, Performance, and the Aesthetic Object


(p.177) 6 Time, Tradition, Performance, and the Aesthetic Object
Time in the Blues

Julia Simon

Oxford University Press

The final chapter addresses the temporality of a genre based on tradition. Working from conceptions of tradition gleaned from the epic and historical chronicle, and of modern anxieties about the weight of the past, reveals a resonating, vibrant, multi-temporal field for the blues that employs meta-textual references to the tradition to create ironic distance. Tracing the genealogy of a riff from Robert Johnson’s “If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day” to Muddy Waters’s “Rollin’ and Tumblin’, ” through to Nick Moss and the Flip Tops’ “The Money I Make” reveals the dynamic forms of temporal simultaneity that define the blues as a genre. An investigation of improvisation foregrounds the historical rootedness of all creative expression, while the necessary interplay between tradition and reception enables a final interrogation of the relationship between individual and community in the blues.

Keywords:   temporality, blues, tradition, improvisation, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Nick Moss and the Flip Tops, epic, historical chronicle

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