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Katrina Blues


Hurricane Katrina and the Blues...


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For the poor black populations of Louisiana and Mississippi at the turn of the last century, jazz and blues developed not just as a way to escape hardship - if only for a few hours on a Saturday night - but as a method of communicating news.

Field workers had very limited access to newspapers - or even, later, to radio - even in the forties and fifties. So the collective back catalogue of American blues musicians is loaded with references to newsworthy events of the time.


From the curse of the boll weevil, which destroyed cotton crops, to the tragic Mississippi flood of 1927, life in the South was recorded in the lyrics of blues songs.

On Today on Saturday 3 September Mark Coles suggested that Hurricane Katrina would, in time, find its way into blues verse. We decided to hasten the process by inviting the American blues musician Michael ‘Hawkeye’ Herman - who’s written songs about the 1993 Mississippi floods - to come up with his own ‘Hurricane Blues’.


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