Blue note

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The Independent Online

Muddy Waters once described the essence of the blues as being encapsulated in the simple lament: "If times don't get no better, I'm going up the road and gone." Presumably this is what Sherman Robertson, the Louisiana guitarist, will be looking for when he judges the entries to his competition to find a truly British blues song.

Mr Robertson is definitely on to something. Whether it's because of the accent, the history, or the fact that we're simply not miserable enough, the British have always sounded a little bit unconvincing while singing the blues. Eric Clapton had a good go in his Cream days but always sounds happier churning our pretty little ballads.

Some would say its because Britain has so little in common with the Mississippi Delta, the place where the blues was born. But could that be changing? This week we've had the floods and the sweltering hot weather. And our public transport system is almost as good as that of the Deep South during the Great Depression.

Welcome to Mississippi-on-sea! Now, everybody: get on that porch and start singing those blues.