All Blues Are the Facts

Muddy Waters, w/ Robbie Robertson, Bob Margolin & Paul Butterfield

Willie Dixon lays down the essence of the blues in this 1988 interview published in Paul Zollo's indispensable Songwriters on Songwriting. When you see the blues done right, with an audience fully and properly attuned to the aesthetic, you know that Mr. Dixon is spot on: the blues alchemizes all experience, even the putatively "bad," into celebration; a celebration that flows out of shared recognition.

ZOLLO: As you said, most people think the blues are down. But so many of your songs are happy blues, such as "I Love the Life I Live."

DIXON: In fact, all blues are happy. All blues are the facts. The facts, whether they are good or bad, are the truth. Most people can't understand that. Of course, they've been brainwashed into believing that it's got to be down, or it wouldn't be the blues.

See, they ain't gonna be singing about the nutty squirrel or three little pigs and all that stuff. They're gonna say the facts: "I just wanna make love to you." How many times did you feel like that and not say it? Evil, ignorance and stupidity are a fact. All these are true facts of life.

The reason I put them into the type of songs I put them in, is so people can remember these facts. And when you remember a fact, whether it's good or bad, it gives you encouragement to live a decent life, one way or the other, one way or the other. To judge.


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