Talking Blues

Christopher Bouchillon
Christopher Bouchillon

A genre that was begun in the 1920’s by comedian/musician Christopher Bouchillon when he recorded a song called Talkin’ Blues and was popularized by in the 1940’s by Woody Guthrie and developed into a political protest genre. As it continued to develop, it retained its protest characteristic as Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash used it on several occasions, notably when Johnny Cash protested against the Vietnam War. Bob Dylan used it once as a dig against a political movement, (John Birch Society) and it turned into a protest against CBS when they stopped him from playing ‘Talkin’ John Birch Society Paranoid Blues’ on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash
Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash

Many people have used it and it has developed into a form of parody.

I use it as a metaphor.

Woody Guthrie
Woody Guthrie

I have written a song called Talkin’ Bicycle Blues, the recording of which is in progress and will appear on my up-coming EP, ‘Its Been a Long, Blue Day’.

A blast to record but incredibly difficult. The music is fairly standard as it is meant to remain strictly in the background while the narrative rambles on. But, finding the correct voice to do the talking, where one should find that vocal place where you are monotone, flat, and rhythmic yet coupled with the music – tough. And it is not a quick dip into the pool. Rather, it is a marathon as the form allows for excruciating detail to evolve in the lyrics as the tale unfolds.