Blues Then and Now - The History of the Blues (Chapter 5, page 2 of 8)


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Chapter 5

His music was an inspiration to other blues singers that even after his death other artists were recording his songs and imitating his easy going melancholy style. St. Louis' pianist Walter Davis and Bumble Bee Slim (Amos Easton) along with Roosevelt Sykes, 'Little Brother' Montgomery and Peetie Wheatstraw who refers to hirnself as being the 'High Sheriff from Hell' were among Leroy Carr's admirers.

In the beginning of 1930, a time when the nation was trying to recover from its financial disaster, the lyrics of the blues singer were cynical and contemptuous. They were expressing their feelings about the Depression and the conditions they had to endure because of it. Peetie Wheatstraw (William Bunch) from Ripley, Tennessee sang about gamblers, prostitutes and bootleggers as his hit on Vocalion Label, "Kidnapper's Blues" would indicate. He was a favorite among the black people because he was singing about their problems.

When Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected as the 32" President of the United States, his "New Deal" policy was to provide an enormous measure of hope and inspiration for the people. Employment and relief became available through the many federal agencies that were organized to stabilize the recovery. On January 22, 1932, Congress established the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) in make federal loans to banks in an effort to stimulate business.

Congress passed the National Industrial Recovery Act, commonly known as the NRA on June 16, 1933. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was established as a government agency to recruit the unemployed youth for service on public works. The Federal Relief program began in May and prohibition ended on December 5, 1933 when President Roosevelt repealed the 18th (Prohibition) Amendment. On May 6, 1935, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) was established. It was to provide work for the unemployed. To take them off the list that provided relief and allowed the people to have their dignity back.

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