Willie Brown, “Future Blues”

I wrote a post back in the summer to discuss the influence of the blues on Jimmie Rodgers’ music, in attempt to expand his reputation as not simply the founder of country music, but a significant contributor to blues music in his own right, as well as to propose some common ground between the two types of music that are often seen somewhat in opposition. Though at the time, I discussed the shared influences of Jimmie Rodgers’ music and the blues more generally, I really only discussed cases where Rodgers’ songs seemed to be influenced by the blues, yet gave no examples of the opposite. I wish to rectify this omission through this post on Willie Brown’s “Future Blues” (1930).

Willie Brown’s “Future Blues” is the B-side to “M & O Blues.” Brown’s records represent the Holy Grail of 78 collectors; only three copies of “M & O Blues”/”Future Blues” are known to exist, while no copies of his two other singles have yet been discovered. “Future Blues” features an aggressively plucked descending guitar line, and Brown’s ragged, shouting vocals. The aggressive guitar style and the hoarse vocals make for apt comparisons between Brown and Charley Patton or Son House. The excellent song closes out with a variation on the opening lines from Jimmie Rodgers’ “Blue Yodel No. 1 (T for Texas)” (1928). The interchange here provides evidence of a much greater exchange between rural, working-class black and white musicians than is typically attributed to this era (and area).

Regardless, both songs are excellent. Enjoy!

Jimmie Rodgers, “Blue Yodel No. 1 (T for Texas)” (1928)

Willie Brown, “Future Blues” (1930)

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Filed under Blues, Country, Music, Pre-War Blues

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