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It is a highly personalized account of what an individual is going through, and is reflective of the harsh realities of life of the American Negro faces in the deep South.
Oftentimes the lyrics of blues deal with unhappy situations brought about by being jobless, poor, lonely, hungry, or being betrayed and deserted by an unfaithful lover.
It is a reality brought about by his own actions and to some extent it is a reality that he accepts and concedes to.
While the train that he sees from his prison cell represents all the things in life that he would want to have but can never have due to his social status in life.
In fact the train with all its rich folks is actually taunting him making him feel bitter about his situation.
Scaruffi makes mention of this stating that, “Theoretically, the civil war that ended in 1863 freed the African slaves (slavery was officially abolished in 1865), and, in fact, the first collection of negro songs was published shortly afterwards, Slave Songs of the United States (1867).
According to Scaruffi (2003), “Music remained the main vehicle to vent the frustration of a people, but the end of slavery introduced the individual: instead of being defined by a group (the faithful or the workers), the black singer was now free to and capable of defining himself as an individual.
His words and mood still echoed the condition of an entire people, but solo singers represented a new take on that condition, the view of a man finally enabled to travel, and no longer a prisoner of his community, although, sometimes, more lonely.
But like any form of popular culture that gets assimilated in the mainstream blues music today has lost its socio-political power and is now viewed more of a musical genre and is celebrated more for its contributions to the world of music.
Today most people with equate blues music with such bands as the Rolling Stones and other white musicians who were influenced by such blues legends such as Muddy Waters and BB King.