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Genres in Negro Oral Poetry and Song

It is perhaps ironic that the immigrant group least well served by the American educational system should be the only such group to maintain viable traditions of both oral poetry and improvisational song. Although the purists may bemoan the fate of the country blues--which have almost succumbed to the exigencies of the recording industry--one should realize that the complex of musical streams that falls under that generic title has been influenced by commercial outlets for at least forty years, and that condemning the sort of blues Muddy Waters plays today in favor of the "purer" blues he played several decades ago is really indulging ...

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