Jazz Research Journal, Vol 13, No 1-2 (2019)

‘Mississippi, My Home’: Songwriting, identity and everyday aesthetics in the African-American tradition

Josep Pedro, Begoña Gutiérrez-Martínez
Issued Date: 14 Feb 2020

Abstract


This article focuses on the analysis of 'Mississippi, My Home', a blues composition byAfrican-American singer Lavelle White, which posits key issues about the meaningsof home, identity, and everyday aesthetics. Presented as a true story, the song dealswith the idea of returning home to Mississippi. It represents everyday life in a plantationthrough the bond between the narrator and her mother while picking cotton. Therefore,it introduces the listener to an aesthetic of everyday life that combined blues, work songs, and spirituals. Drawing on a personal interview with the artist, as well as on othersources, we will analyse the song as part of a broader interest in the musical discourseof blues. Exploring the song's text and context, the aim is to reach a complex understandingabout the ways in which biography and fiction intertwine with each other in thecreative act of songwriting and musical performance.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £18.00 )

DOI: 10.1558/jazz.39374

References


Bakhtin, Mikhail (1981) The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

——(1984) Rabelais and His World. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Banfield, William C. (2010) Cultural Codes: Makings of a Black Music Philosophy. An Interpretive History from Spirituals to Hip Hop. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.

Bock, Scott (2014) ‘Lavelle White: “Music is My Life—and My Life is Music”’. Blues & Rhythm 290 (June): 18–19. https://bit.ly/2XMzD2w

Charters, Samuel B. (1975) The Country Blues. New York: Da Capo Press.

Curtin, Kevin (2019) ‘Soul Stunner Miss Lavelle White Turns 39 (or So)’. Austin Chronicle, 5 July. https://bit.ly/2JkTOAp.

Donell Kohout, Martin (2013) ‘Duke-Peacock Records’. Handbook of Texas Online, 3 May. https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ebd01

Dunbarn, Paul Laurence (1896) ‘We Wear the Mask’. Poetry Foundation. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44203/we-wear-the-mask

Faulkner, Robert R., and Howard S. Becker (2009) ‘Do You Know…?’ The Jazz Repertoire in Action. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226239224.001.0001

Frith, Simon (1998) Performing Rites. On the Value of Popular Music. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Gabbard, Krin (2016) Better Git It in Your Soul: An Interpretive Biography of Charles Mingus. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Garon, Paul (1996) Blues and the Poetic Spirit. San Francisco: City Lights Books.

Gebhardt, Nicholas (2001) Going for Jazz: Musical Practices and American Ideology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

George, Nelson (2004) The Death of Rhythm & Blues. New York: Penguin Books.

Goffman, Erving (1956) The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press.

Govenar, Alan (2008) Texas Blues: The Rise of a Contemporary Sound. College Station: Texas A&M University Press.

Greimas, Algirdas Julien (1976) Semántica Estructural. Madrid: Editorial Gredos.

——(1987) On Meaning: Selected Writings in Semiotic Theory. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Greimas, Algirdas Julien, and Joseph Courtés (1982) Semiotics and Language. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Gussow, Adam (2002) Seems Like Murder Here: Southern Violence and the Blues Tradition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226311005.001.0001

Hall, Stuart (1992) ‘What is “Black” in Black Popular Culture’. In Black Popular Culture, ed. Gina Dent, 21–33. Seattle: Bay Press.

Hendrickson, Paul (2004) Sons of Mississippi: A Story of Race and its Legacy. New York: Vintage Books.

Hudson, Kathleen (2007) Women in Texas Music: Stories and Songs. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Hurston, Zora Neale (2008) Mules and Men. New York: HarperCollins.

Koselleck, Reinhart (1993) Futuro pasado: Para una semántica de los tiempos históricos. Barcelona: Paidós.

Lomax, Alan (1973) Mister Jelly Roll: The Fortunes of Jelly Roll Morton, New Orleans Creole and ‘Inventor of Jazz’. Berkeley: University of California Press.

——(1993) The Land Where Blues Began. New York: The New Press.

Moody, Anne (1968) Coming of Age in Mississippi: The Classic Autobiography of Growing up Poor and Black in the Rural South. New York: Random House.

Moore, Allan (2002) ‘Authenticity as Authentication’. Popular Music 21: 209–223. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261143002002131

Moser, Margaret (2003) ‘Bright Lights, Inner City: When Austin’s Eastside Music Scene Was Lit up Like Broadway’. Austin Chronicle, 4 July. http://bit.ly/2J6jB0d

Murray, Albert (1995) The Hero and the Blues. New York: Vintage Books.

Oliver, Paul (1997) The Story of the Blues. New England: Northeastern University Press.

Pedro, Josep (2017) ‘An Intercultural History of Blues in Austin: From the Negro District to the Global Rock Circuit’. Atlantic Studies 14/1: 66–81. https://doi.org/10.1080/14788810.2016.1172297

Peñamarín, Cristina (2007) ‘El hogar y el mundo: La imaginación en los discursos informativos y publicitarios’. CIC. Cuadernos de Información y Comunicación 12: 169–84. https://bit.ly/2LVLJ7g

Propp, Vladimir (1968) Morphology of the Folktale. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Stegall, Tim (2014) ‘Got My Mojo Workin’: Paul Oscher used to blow harps for Muddy Waters’. Austin Chronicle, 27 June. https://bit.ly/2YEmRnS

Wood, Roger (2003) Down in Houston: Bayou City Blues. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.





Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email: info@equinoxpub.com

Privacy Policy