Roosevelt’s Blues

Roosevelt’s Blues: African-American Blues and Gospel Songs on FDR

Guido van Rijn, Foreword by Paul Oliver


3a. Roosevelt's BluesIn Roosevelt’s Blues Guido van Rijn documents more than a hundred blues and gospel lyrics that contain direct political comment about FDR. Altogether, they convey the thought, spirit, and history of the African-American population during the Roosevelt era. Included in the book are recorded sermons by Rev. J.M. Gates and lyrics to songs recorded by such notable musicians as Leadbelly, Big Bill Broonzy, “Champion” Jack Dupree, Sonny Boy Williamson, Josh White, the Mississippi Sheiks, and many others. Using these sources, which have been neglected by historians, van Rijn documents Roosevelt’s vast popularity among blacks.

Product Details:

  • Format:                       Paperback
  • Publication Date:        February 1997
  • Price:                          25 Euros
  • Publisher:                   University Press of Mississippi
  • Series:                        American Made Music Series

3b. Agram ABCD 2017Twenty-four of the songs discussed in the text are available on a CD produced by Agram Blues (ABCD 2017) to accompany this book. Digitally remastered and featuring full liner notes by the author, the CD is a unique historical document of the Roosevelt presidency.

Price:   10 Euros.


  1. Walter Roland – Red Cross Blues
  2. Jack Kelly – President Blues (President Roosevelt Blues)
  3. Joe Pullum – CWA Blues
  4. Mississippi Sheiks – I Can’t Go Wrong
  5. Rev. J.M. Gates – No Bread Line In Heaven
  6. Annie Brewer – Roosevelt Blues
  7. Will ‘Casey Bill’ Weldon – Casey Bill’s New W.P.A.
  8. Memphis Minnie – Sylvester And His Mule Blues
  9. Rev. J.M. Gates – President Roosevelt Is Everybody’s Friend
  10. Jimmie Gordon – Don’t Take Away My P.W.A.
  11. Mississippi Sheiks – Sales Taks
  12. Rev. R.H. Taylor – The Bonus Have Found the Stingy Mens Out
  13. Huddie ‘Leadbelly’ Ledbetter – The Scottsboro Boys’
  14. Huddie ‘Leadbelly’ Ledbetter – Dear Mr. President & President Roosevelt
  15. Peter J. ‘Doctor’ Clayton – Pearl Harbor Blues
  16. Lucius ‘Lucky’ Millinder – We’re Gonna Have To Slap the Dirty Little Jap
  17. Buster ‘Buz’ Ezell – Soldier Boy Blues
  18. Peter J. ‘Doctor’    Clayton – ’41 Blues
  19. Unidentified Man – Hitler Toast
  20. Louis Jordan – You Can’t Get That No More
  21. James ‘Jack of All Trades’ McCain – Good Mr. Roosevelt
  22. ‘Big’ Joe Williams – His Spirit Lives On
  23. Otis Jackson – Tell Me Why You Like Roosevelt – Part 1
  24. Otis Jackson – Tell Me Why You Like Roosevelt – Part 2