The Blues and automobiles
In his Blog, John Heitmann, Professor of History University of Dayton in centreville, Ohio wrote, "In the 1920s and1930s it was Blues artists – often coming from humble and racially restricted worlds – that recognized the car as being symbolic of freedom and unrestricted mobility. As Blacks living in a world of very limited freedom in the Jim Crow American South, their artistic expression – the Blues – contained the message that the car was liberating in terms of personal privacy and social and financial emancipation. It was a message of hope to those living in the Mississippi delta, connected as it was by U.S. Highway 61.
The train will always have a prominent spot in blues lore because so many great musicians made the trek from the Delta to Chicago via rail. But the car began to enjoy a much more prominent place in blues lyrics as it emerged as a status symbol in the post-war years. In urban areas such as Chicago, St. Louis and Memphis, successful bluesmen rewarded themselves with Cadillacs, Lincolns and Oldsmobiles and worked them into the fabric of their songs.
There were some superb pre-war songs that highlighted cars. Perhaps the gem was Terraplane Blues, penned by blues great Robert Johnson. Terraplane Blues was a regional hit, selling 5,000 copies. The Terraplane was built by Hudson, an automaker that in its prime (1929) ranked third among American models behind Ford and Chevy.
Johnson’s haunting, evocative singing and playing resound through a tale about deception and desertion. He also sings about going “down low” and checking “under the hood,” and utilizes several other car-driven metaphors before telling the song’s subject that he’s going to drive down to see another lover in Arkansas. So much for loyalty, but the consistent mention of different car parts and functions reinforces its importance within the song.
Cars in the Blues
Oldsmobile was a brand of American automobiles produced for most of its existence by General Motors. Olds Motor Vehicle Co. was founded by Ransom E. Olds in 1897. It produced over 35 million vehicles, including at least 14 million built at its Lansing, Michigan factory
Lincoln Motor Company
Lincoln, formally the Lincoln Motor Company, is a luxury vehicle brand of the American manufacturer Ford Motor Company. Throughout its existence, Lincoln has been marketed among the top luxury brands in the United States, having a segment rivalry against Cadillac for nearly a century. The brand was named after 16th US President Abraham Lincoln by company founder Henry M. Leland. Lincoln has the distinction of establishing the personal luxury car segment, with the entry of the Lincoln Continental into mass production in 1940. Founded in 1917, Lincoln Motor Company was purchased by Ford Motor Company in 1922
Cadillac, formally the Cadillac Motor Car Division, is a division of the U.S.-based General Motors (GM) that markets luxury vehicles worldwide. Cadillac is among the oldest automobile brands in the world, second in the United States only to fellow GM marque Buick. The firm was founded from the remnants of the Henry Ford Company in 1902. It was named after Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, who founded Detroit, Michigan. The Cadillac crest is based on his coat of arms. By the time General Motors purchased the company in 1909, Cadillac had already established itself as one of America's premier luxury carmakers. The complete interchangeability of its precision parts had allowed it to lay the foundation for the modern mass production of automobiles.
This information came from the great sites below
Professor John Heitmann's 'The Automobile and American Life' on Blogger
Professor John Heitmann's 'The Automobile and American Life' available on Amazon
Hagerty - Cars of the blues
10 of the Most Famous Blues Cars
Broke Down: Blues About Automobiles
Blues Cars - Oldsmobile