When I hear Katie Melua sing the blues, I have to smile. This gal, who was born in the former Soviet state of Georgia, moved to Belfast with her heart-surgeon father at age 8, and left the Northern Ireland "Troubles" for England at age 14, is singing "When I was in pig tails?" A central European chick doing the blues?
Listen to her, doing "a man is a two-face," lamenting the tears (beat, beat, beat) "in the night." When she asserts that "My Momma done told me," you believe.
But you still have to think: This is not music that has come from the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Nor from the Celts. Nor from England. This, like jazz, has come from black Americans.
The blues, at least for me, starts with that first bar. You listen, and you go, yesss.
I've just started watching and listening to the Martin Scorsese-produced series (circa 2002 or so) called "The Blues," and my foot is tapping. As a friend once said, enticing me out with him and his wife to a nearly empty bar on a New Year's Eve nearly 20 years ago, "It's the blues!"