Journal Article

“I’ve Got Some Antique in Me”: The Discourse of Authenticity and Identity in the African American Blues Community in Austin, Texas

Roger Davis Gatchet

in The Oral History Review

Published on behalf of Oral History Association

Volume 39, issue 2, pages 207-229
Published in print January 2012 | ISSN: 0094-0798
Published online August 2012 | e-ISSN: 1533-8592 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ohr/ohs091
“I’ve Got Some Antique in Me”: The Discourse of Authenticity and Identity in the African American Blues Community in Austin, Texas

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Abstract: This essay draws on the author’s oral history work in the African American blues community in Austin, Texas, in order to examine how professional blues artists there understand and negotiate the concept of authenticity. More to the point, this essay explores the ways in which the narrators use the category of authenticity as a way to articulate their own identity. Through a close textual analysis of the interviews, it demonstrates how race, class, and lived experience are intimately tied to notions of authenticity in the blues and locates the ambiguity inherent in the narrators’ discourse at the center of a larger cultural struggle for empowerment and recognition in this historically marginalized community. Two songs by the musicians featured in this essay follow after the conclusion. Listening to these requires a means of accessing the audio files through hyperlinks. See “Instructions for Multimedia Reading of the OHR,” which follows the Editor’s Introduction at the front of the journal, for further explanation on how to access this article online.

Keywords: African American; authenticity; blues music; class; race

Journal Article.  9467 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Oral History

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