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HISTORY

he tale of the Big Bad Wolf, or the story of the Three Little Pigs as it has come to be known, has been handed down through many generations. Growing from factual events the story passed from reality into the realm of legend, and eventually to fable. A cautionary tale told, amongst so many others, warning against the evils of idle hands, the virtues of hard work, and to be wary of the ever-present threat of the Wolf. Likely due to the transformation of this tale into a children’s fable, the racism laying at the foundation of the story is largely overlooked today. But to ignore this, and to forget the actual events the story was born from, would be to dismiss a very real, and shameful, episode in our collective history. Do not forget, lest ye be doomed to repeat. We can pretend to have risen to higher moral ground since the days of those terrible events but, sadly, racism still persists in this country, and the propagation of this tale is but one small testament to that fact.



The true events leading to the fairy tale we now call The Three Little Pigs began as follows:

Wolf was a farmer and Blues musician living in the Mississippi Delta town of Money during the early years of the 20th century. Married to wife Elle, and father to three pups, B.B. struggled to cut a life for his family from the fertile but unforgiving land of the American south. Harder still was life in a society not yet ready to recognize their equal place within it. The Wolf was, even then, fifty plus years gone from a civil war and forty some years pass the promises of Reconstruction, a second-class citizen. Worse still there were many a Pig who believed the Wolf to be less than mammal. Segregation, especially in the south, became commonplace. And the lynching, often en masse, of Wolves by the PPP (The Pius Porcus Partis), occurred with alarming frequency. It was in this environment that B.B., and all Wolves, struggled.



hief amongst the architects of the Wolves plight was Littlepig Industries. One of the nation’s first multi--concern corporations, LI controlled nearly the entire Mississippi Valley, stretching from the developed streets of Chicago to the farmlands of the south. They owned agricultural land, ran the shipping lines up and down the river, and influenced the lives of all in the region. Even the shadowy industries of alcohol, drugs, gambling, and prostitution ultimately came under their control. Led by brothers Carrington, Beauregard, and Allouissius, LI endeavored to own all land and control all commerce along the stretch of the great river, and to drive the Wolves from any ownership within the region. With this goal in mind they began acquiring all Wolf-owned farmland within the Mississippi Delta. When farmers refused to sell, more aggressive means were employed. And it was this fate that befell B.B. Wolf and his family. All too often this was the fate of the Wolf during these dark times. Persecuted, marginalized, forgotten. Set ‘free’ from prior bonds only to be cast into a land that did not want nor would not help them. It was an environment rife with pain and loss. And it was this environment that gave birth to a truly American art form, the Blues.

 

he Blues as we now know it was just beginning to form, born from the spirituals, chants, and work songs of the late 19th century. Delta Blues artists, considered one of the earliest and most influential blues styles, became a powerful voice for a group newly freed and aching to establish an identity. The earliest major recordings of the first Delta Blues artists occurred in 1928, eight years after the death of B.B. Wolf. But recent discoveries have shown B.B. to be a pioneering forefather of the movement. These Lost Tapes date to the time of the first known blues recording, Lady Smith’s version of Terrier Bradford’s “Crazy Blues”. Truly, B.B. Wolf, had he lived, would have been heralded alongside such names as Hooker, Waters, and James as a Father of the Blues Movement. But sadly B.B. did not live to see his glory days and, sadder still, his music was lost, seemingly forever.

 

 



ut now his music has returned. The discovery of the Lost Tapes of B.B. Wolf & The Howlers, and the publication of the true events of his life and demise, as told in the book BB Wolf & the Three LP’s, has brought B.B.’s life full circle. No longer will his tale linger in the nebulous land of fable. His story is now known as fact. It is not a fairy tale to tell the children, with happy endings and neat moral messages, but rather a bloody tale, filled with great loss and a tearful, unjust fate.


But it is
his story, and we all must bear the burden of remembering it.


 

 

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