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Word Count: 609
Some bluesologists claim rather dubiously that the first blues song that was ever written down was Dallas Blues published in 1912 by Hart Wand a white violinist from Oklahoma City Tanner 40 The blues form was first popularized about 1911-14 by the black composer WC Handy 1873-1958 However the poetic and musical form of the blues first crystallized around 1910 and gained popularity through the publication of Handys Memphis Blues 1912 and St Louis Blues 1914 Kamien 518 Instrumental blues had been recorded as early as 1913 Mamie Smith recorded the first vocal blues song Crazy Blues in 1920 Priestly 9 Priestly claims that while the widespread popularity of the blues had a vital influence on subsequent jazz it was the initial popularity of jazz which had made possible the recording of blues in the first place and thus made possible the absorption of blues into both jazz as well as the mainstream of pop music Priestly 10 American troops brought the blues home with them following the First World War They did not of course learn them from Europeans but from Southern whites who had been exposed to the blues At this time the US Army was still segregated During the twenties the blues became a national craze Records by leading blues singers like Bessie Smith and later in the thirties Billie Holiday sold in the millions The twenties also saw the blues become a musical form more widely used by jazz instrumentalists as well as blues singers Kamien 518 During the decades of the thirties and forties the blues spread northward with the migration of many blacks from the South and entered into the repertoire of big-band jazz The blues also became electrified with the introduction of the amplified guitar In some Northern cities like Chicago and Detroit during the later forties and early fifties Muddy Waters Willie Dixon John Lee Hooker Howlin Wolf and Elmore James among others played what was basically
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