The term blues ballad is used to refer to a specific form of popular music which fused Anglo-American and Afro-American styles from the late 19th century onwards. From the 20th century it was also used to refer to a slow tempo, often sentimental, song in a blues style.
Popular blues ballads 
Developing in south-western United States in the late 19th century, the blues ballad combined elements of the European influenced "native American ballad" with the forms of African American music. They tended to deal with active protagonists, often anti-heroes, resisting adversity and authority, often in the context of increasing industrialisation, but they usually lacked the strong narrative common in European ballads (perhaps because the events were familiar) and emphasised instead the character of the protagonists. They were often accompanied by banjo and guitar and often followed a standard 12-bar the blues format, with a repeated refrain in the last line of every verse. Blues ballads are usually anonymously authored and were performed by both black and white musicians in the early 19th century. Ballads about anti-heroes include "Wild Bill Jones", "Stagger Lee" and "John Hardy". The most famous blues ballads that deal with heroes in the context of industrialisation include those about John Henry and Casey Jones.
Sentimental blues ballads 
From the late 19th century the term ballad began to be used for sentimental songs with their origins in the early ‘Tin Pan Alley’ music industry. As new genres of music, including the blues, began to emerge in the early 20th century the popularity of the genre faded, but the association with sentimentality meant led to this being used as the term for a slow love song from the 1950s onwards. Today the term blues ballad is used to describe a song that uses a blues format with a slow tempo, often dealing with themes of love and affection. Examples include songs like B. B. King's "Blues on the Bayou" and Fats Domino's "Every night about this time".
See also 
- ^ a b T. A. Green, Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Beliefs, Customs, Tales, Music, and Art (ABC-CLIO, 1997), p. 81.
- ^ a b c N. Cohen, Folk Music: a Regional Exploration (Greenwood, 2005), pp. 14-29.
- ^ R. DeV Renwick, Recentering Anglo/American Folksong: Sea Crabs and Wicked Youths (University Press of Mississippi, 2009), pp. 25-6.
- ^ a b D. M. Randel, The Harvard Dictionary of Music (Harvard University Press, 4th edn., 2003), p. 73,
- ^ R. Kostelanetz and J. Reiswig, The B.B. King Reader: 6 Decades of Commentary (Hal Leonard Corporation, 2nd edn., 2005), p. 287.
- ^ R. Coleman, "Blue Monday: Fats Domino and the Lost Dawn of Rock 'n' Roll (Da Capo Press, 2007), p. 63.