Today is the birthday of the Father of the Blues, W.C. Handy(1873-1958). In reality, the blues is a folkish form, it was well along in development when Handy, an educated man and a teacher, discovered it in his fact-finding rambles in the deep south. It was Handy who wrote first it down and conveyed it to audiences outside its native soil. From his pen came the St. Louis Blues, Memphis Blues, the Beale Street Blues, and countless others.
To find out more about the variety arts past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold. And don’t miss Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, to be released by Bear Manor Media in 2013.