Here is a link to a three-minute clip from a documentary from the 1965 Newport Folk Festival where the blues singer and guitarist Son House talks about the nature of the blues.

Here is the URL to the video clip posted on YouTube.


He says:

The Real Old Blues don’t call for no jumping. If you go to jumping, that ain’t the Blues. They can name it the Blues, but it ain’t the Blues.

What does jumping mean in this context?


2 Answers 2


I believe he's talking about the style of blues called jump blues, which was popular in the 1940s and which made use of a large band with a horn section and a piano -- almost a jazz orchestra or big band.

I believe Son House was appealing to the original and more primal form of the blues which is played by just one singer with a guitar. Perhaps he was saying that if the blues is done with a big band and an elaborate production, it ceases to be the genuine blues.

Here is Big Joe Turner and his band doing "Shake, Rattle and Roll" in the jump blues style in 1954.


Jump blues was revived from the late 1990s through Brian Setzer and his Orchestra and a few other bands.

  • Just to expand a little bit the question, is this attitude, Son House's attitude, towards Jump Blues was shared among the delta blues musicians? Moreover, how did they feel about Jazz? In other words, what was the reaction of the country, delta blues musicians towards Jazz? Did they enjoy it? On the other hand, did Jazzmen enjoyed delta blues? Jul 22, 2015 at 23:05

This is just an educated guess, but I think he's talking (derisively) about dancing. Classic blues is not a dance music, whereas R&B and Rock and Roll, both descended from the blues, are often used for dancing.

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