The Spirituality of the Blues

November 10, 2019


(Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out, Bessie Smith)[1]

Nobody knows you when you’re down and out. That song is by Bessie Smith, nicknamed The Empress of the Blues, one of the most popular blues singers of the 1920’s and 30’s.

I listened to the blues as I prepared this message. That’s because I think the blues makes the perfect soundtrack for most of the book of Job. The blues originated in southern black communities after the Civil War as former slaves faced the awesome burden of being freed to live in a society that was built on their racist exploitation.

[1] Bessie Smith, “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out.” Words and music by Jimmie Cox (Sony, 2003). YouTube, accessed November 8, 2019,

Bible References

  • Job 19:23 - 27