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Week 10

Further reading:

Sweet Soul Music, Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom, by Peter Guralnick

The Story of the Blues, by Paul Oliver

Give My Poor Heart Ease, by William Ferris


Update: here's a version of Peter's 'DriversSeat' found on youtube. Enjoy!


• Theory and Play of the Duende, lecture by Garcia Lorca: download a translation here

Lorca on the duende: “this ‘mysterious force that everyone feels and no philosopher has explained’ is, in sum, the spirit of the earth, the same duende that scorched Nietzche’s heart as he searched for its outer form on the Rialto Bridge and in Bizet’s music, without finding it, and without seeing that the duende he pursued had leapt from the Greek mysteries to the dancers of Cadiz and the headless Dionysiac scream of Silverio’s siguiriya.”

Silverio was Silverio Franconetti (1831 – 1889), an Italian cantaor who came to Seville and cultivated the "deep song" (cante jondo) of the Andalusian Gypsy. The siguiriya was a type of cante jondo.

For an idea of ‘the headless Dionysiac scream’ check these out:

• Terremoto por Siguiriya

A very different singer, here:


And what about solea (another type of flamenco song)?

• Platero de Alcalá por Solea
(he really lets rip after about 2.15)

Sample lyric from solea:

I was a stone and lost my centre
and was thrown into the sea
and after a very long time
I came to find my centre again.

In my short prayers
crying, I ask God
to deprive me of my health
and to give it back to you.

How do they compare for darkness and duende with:

• Ray Charles playing slow blues (LIVE in MADRID)
(with band members offering bursts of vocal encouragement not unlike the flamenco aficianados in the previous films crying ‘olé!’ to acknowledge the spirit or ‘soul’ – the duende -- of the performance):



Alberta Hunter, a contemporary of Bessie Smith’s: “Bessie was the greatest of them all. Even though she was raucous and loud. She had a sort of tear — no, not a tear, but there was a misery in what she did.”

Elaine Feinstein (in her book Bessie Smith): “That ability to infect the audience not so much with her own misery, but with a sudden knowledge of their own unhappiness, was the secret of Bessie’s power: ‘You didn’t turn your head when she was on. She just upset you.’”

• Bessie Smith - Need A Little Sugar In My Bowl (1931)


• Nina Simone - I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl


• Blind Lemon Jefferson and other blind blues singers featured in this little ‘lesson’ abt the blues (including example of simple instrumental 12-bar)

• Robert Johnson, Me and the Devil Blues


• Muddy Waters, Got My Mojo Working (Live at Newport, 1960)
Muddy brings down the house. (Interesting to note how uptight -- unused to abandon -- these audiences are. Most of them have never been exposed to this kinda thing before. But eventually they can't resist, Muddy's mojo works on them, and he’s so delighted he sings it again and grabs James Cotton his harp player and does a little foxtrot with him)

Muddy Waters, Hoochie Coochie Man (Live at Newport, 1960)


• Ray Charles, “I Believe To My Soul” (LIVE at Newport Jazz Fest, 1960)

• ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ - Etta James

• ‘When Something is Wrong With My Baby’ – Sam and Dave, ,Offenbach, Germany, 1967
As it says “The incomparable Sam & Dave, perhaps the best live act that has ever existed, live in Offenbach, Germany, 1967. Unbelievably joyous performance, the kind of live show that just doesn't exist anymore.”

• ‘Sweet Soul Music’ Arthur Conley LIVE, Offenbach, Germany, 1967

• Timmy Willis - Easy As Saying 1-2-3

• Otis Redding - ‘Try a Little Tenderness’

• Otis Redding - ‘I’ve Been Loving You Too Long’ (LIVE AT MONTEREY)

• James Brown - ‘I Got The Feeling’ - live at the Apollo, 1968
He starts by leading the crowd in a chant, an invocation of the muse (aka the 'feeling'). When all present seem to be suitably invested he proceeds to get seriously funky.

• James Brown - ‘This is a Man’s World’ , L'Olympia Paris, 1966