The Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr. & Obama Blues: African-American Blues And Gospel Songs 1976-2012
The present book does not deal with one or two presidencies, but with six. This is evidence of the fact that traditional blues and gospel music are dying art forms. Still, enough blues and gospel songs with a sociopolitical content were traced to enable the writing of chapters on each of the six latest American presidents and to analyze African-American perception of the most memorable events of their presidencies.
President Carter’s Blues starts with the warm reception the President received from the blues singers. But the continuing energy crisis and the failure of the President to tackle the economy soon led to frustration and disappointment.
President Reagan’s Blues shows how Reagan’s tough and successful measures to revive the economy hurt the poor most. Reagan was never able to convince African-Americans that he was not racially prejudiced. His “Star Wars” space-age national defense plan led to fears of a nuclear war, and the rise of the home computer to fears of unemployment.
President G.H.W. Bush’s Blues deals with the fight against drug abuse, and comments on the Gulf War. The President’s failure to tackle the economy cost him his initial popularity.
President Clinton’s Blues shows how strongly African Americans supported the most popular of these six presidents. Even in the midst of the Monica Lewinsky scandal they did not lose faith in him, and there was admiration for the way he restored the economy.
President G.W. Bush’s Blues provides evidence of the growing dissatisfaction with an unpopular president. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq after the bombing of the Twin Towers were criticized in song, as was the badly-managed flood relief after Hurricane Katrina.
President Obama’s Blues is a unique final chapter in this presidential series, as this president’s father was from Africa. Songs about the superhuman expectations African Americans had of him are analyzed, and the gradual disappointment with Obama’s actual achievements is shown in songs about the bailout of banks and car factories.
- Format: Paperback
- Publication Date: December 2012
- Price: 30 Euros.
- Publisher: Agram Blues Books
Thirty-seven of the songs discussed in the text are available on two different CDs produced by Agram Blues (ABCD 2024 about Carter, Reagan and Bush Sr. and 2025 about Clinton, Bush Jr. and Obama) to accompany this book. Digitally remastered and featuring full liner notes by the author, the CDs are unique historical documents of these presidencies.
Price: 15 Euros.
AGRAM BLUES ABCD 2024
- Carl O’Jones – It’s Carter the Peanut Man
- Mississippi Delta Blues Band (Eddie Lang, v) – Hell of a Mistake
- Lonnie Brooks – Inflation
- Jessie Mae Hemphill – Hard Times
- King Solomon – Energy Crisis
- Yank Rachell – Depression Blues
- J.C. Burris – Black President
- Leslie Isaiah Gaines and I.C. Hot Band Reaganomic Blues, Part 1
- J.J. Daniels – OPEC Blues
- Big Boy Henry – Mr. President
- Willie Cobb – Inflation Blues
- Louisiana Red – Reagan Is for the Rich Man
- Big Daddy Kinsey – Bad Situation
- Little Howlin’ Wolf – White House Blues
- Omar Shariff – Burn Baby Burn
- Leslie Isaiah Gaines – The Insane Hussein Blues Part 1 A.K.A. Kick Some Butt Blues
- Cooper Terry – Stormy Desert
- John Primer – Inflation Blues
- John Brim – Wake Up America
AGRAM BLUES ABCD 2025
- A.C. Reed – The President Plays
- Sonny Rhodes – President Clinton
- Al King – It’s Rough Out Here
- Omar Shariff – President & the Tramp
- Tail Dragger – American People
- Larry Shannon Hargrove – Leave Bill Clinton Alone
- Louisiana Red – September 11th Blues
- Dennis Binder – Terrorist on the Loose
- Sunny Ridell – Hey Osama!
- Alabama Slim – The Mighty Flood
- Tom Courtney – Disaster Blues
- Big Jack Johnson – Katrina
- Mam Shannon – Good-bye Mr. President
- Larry Shannon Hargrove – Barack Obama Train
- Henry Gray – Barack Obama Boogie
- Guitar Shorty – Please Mr. President
- Daddy Mack – Great Recession Blues
- Leslie Isaiah Gaines – Working Poor American Blues