Last night, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a talented group of musicians, as part of the PBS “In Performance at the White House” series. While welcoming the crowd to the White House, President Obama spoke on the origin of the blues:
“This is music with humble beginnings — roots in slavery and segregation, a society that rarely treated black Americans with the dignity and respect that they deserved. The blues bore witness to these hard times. And like so many of the men and women who sang them, the blues refused to be limited by the circumstances of their birth.
The music migrated north — from Mississippi Delta to Memphis to my hometown in Chicago. It helped lay the foundation for rock and roll, and R&B and hip-hop. It inspired artists and audiences around the world. And as tonight’s performers will demonstrate, the blues continue to draw a crowd. Because this music speaks to something universal. No one goes through life without both joy and pain, triumph and sorrow. The blues gets all of that, sometimes with just one lyric or one note.”
After a little peer pressure from the legendary B.B. King, the President grabbed the mic from Mick Jagger, to sing a few lines from, “Sweet Home Chicago.” Watch:
In addition to King and Jagger, the legends were joined by Jeff Beck, Trombone Shorty, Keb’ Mo’, and a host of others.
Check out the full set list:
1. “Let the Good Times Roll” (Ensemble)
2.. “The Thrill Is Gone” (B.B King)
3. “St. James Infirmary” (Trombone Shorty)
4. “Let Me Love You Baby” (Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck)
5. “Brush With The Blues” instrumental (Jeff Beck)
6. “I Can’t Turn You Loose” (Mick Jagger)
7. “Commit A Crime” (Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck)
8. “Miss You” (Mick Jagger, Shemekia Copeland, and Susan Tedeschi,)
9. “Beat Up Guitar” (Shemekia Copeland, Gary Clark, Jr.)
10. “Catfish Blues” (Gary Clark, Jr.)
11. “In The Evening (When The Sun Goes Down)” (Gary Clark, Jr.)
12. “Henry” ( Keb’ Mo’)
13. “I’d Rather Go Blind” (Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes)
14. “Five Long years” (Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck, Gary Clark, Mick Jagger)
15. “Sweet Home Chicago” (Ensemble)
The entire concert will air on PBS next Monday, February 27th, 2012. Be sure to let us know what you think!
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images North America)