"The thing about the Blues is,” Big Bill said (...), “it didn’t start in the North—in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, wha’soever it is—it didn’t start in the East, neither in the North—it started in the South, from what I’m thinking.” Big Bill Bronzy. What exactly is the Blues? What is that intangible feeling behind the melody, that message behind the words of the lonely singer? Where does it all come from? Blues music is a reflection of all the changes that shaped the African American experience. It is an affirmation of the African American identity, looking forward to the future with one eye glancing at the past. It is a reminder of the tragedies and inequalities that accompanied African Americans from slavery to official freedom, then from freedom to equality. It is the witness of the development of African Americans and of their acculturation to the individual voice, a symbol of the American ethos. By focusing on both the music and its audience, this book will embark you on a path. A path where one is nothing without the other, where one completes the other. Beyond the rhythm, beyond the message, Blues will reveal itself as it is, a true piece of American history.