"The blues is an impulse to keep the painful details and episodes of a brutal experience alive in one's aching consciousness, to finger it's jagged grain, and to transcend it, not by the consolation of philosophy but by squeezing from it a near-tragic, near-comic lyricism."
Buddy Guy (a blues guitarist) reflects this sentiment quite well in his song "All that makes me happy is the blues"
keep the painful details and episodes of a brutal experience alive in one's aching consciousness, to finger it's jagged grain, and to transcend it, not by the consolation of philosophy but by squeezing from it a near-tragic, near-comic lyricism." did not develop with the rise of black literature. Joyce, Nehru, Dostoievsky, and countless other authors have expressed catastrophic personal events through near tragic, near comic lyricism in their writings.
Some blues songs to check out:
1. Albert King: I'll play the blues for you
This is pretty smooth, sounds very 70s. It was hard to pick a single Albert King song to put on this list. I highly recommend his 67' album "Born Under a Bad Sign" for some real blues revival.
2. John Bonamassa: Sloe Gin
This is an extreme exception to the near-comic head nodding of the blues. This is one of the most emotional songs I know (up there with NIN's "Hurt"). The "I'm so damn lonely, I aint even high" line is killer. The guitar playing creates a mood much better than most blues songs... this is because John doesn't base his blues on traditional american blues but on a sort of english/irish fusion blues. I wanted to include an exception to the "Near comic near tragic lyricism"... this is it.
3. Robert Johnson 32-20 blues
This is in my opinion the most listenable Robert Johnson song. Y'all should read about Robert Johnson, he's one of the pillars of blues history. His music is so old that it's not super listenable, even though Clapton and Keith Richards will blow steam up his ass all day.
Here's my favorite... first of all it's live and sounds 2000% better than the studio version (that's already an accomplishment). He also brings on Johnny Copeland which is a really nice addition.
I present, SRV's live "Tin Pan Alley"
If you like this stuff, other artists to check out are Freddie King, BB King, Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Robert Cray. I'm not a huge Howlin Wolf/Muddy Waters fan, but if you liked the Robert Johnson delta blues stuff you might be into that pre-blues revival acoustic based stuff.