Life Tidbit #6 ~ The Blues

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Life Tidbit #6 ~ The Blues

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Oct 15, 2011 10:53 am

Had my days mixed up. Today The Blues...tomorrow The British Invasion! :biggrin:

The Roots Of 60s Rock

The 19th Century

All the most important twentieth century music genres in the Americas (except Country/Western and bluegrass) come from a combination of African rhythms and melodies with European harmonies, played on (mostly) European instruments. Rock 'n' roll is no exception. Born in the 1950's, and growing directly out of Country/Western and Rhythm & Blues, rock 'n' roll traces its roots back to the 19th century and even earlier.

Like jazz, rock and roll draws upon gospel spirituals and the blues - two styles of music developed in the 19th century by black musicians in the Southern U.S. Gospel - which, like the blues, is still popular today - is a form of Christian music, originally sung a capella. (Unlike in Cuba and Haiti, slaves in the 13 Colonies and the United States were generally not allowed to use drums or other musical instruments.) Gospel is a rich, passionate music, joyful and sorrowful by turns, and frequently involves call and response (following African tradition) in which a leader will sing one line and the chorus will answer; the lead line is often repeated with variations and embellishments. The best known gospel singer is Mahalia Jackson, and a number of pop and R&B singers have recorded gospel albums, including Aretha Franklin, Al Green and Phil Bailey. Many R&B and soul singers started out singing gospel, including Marvin Gaye, Franklin and Jackie Wilson.

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Mahalia Jackson--How I got over, live performance. Mahalia sang this song at the march on Washington just before King gave the I have a dream speech

Early 1900's

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Memphis Blues, W. C. Handy


Blues is a secular music, and while it usually reflects unhappy circumstances, it covers the whole range of subjects not appropriate for church music. (Although the lines even here are blurry; the chorus for one of the most famous early blues songs, "St. Louis Blues" by W.C. Handy, was derived from a line sung by a preacher calling his flock to church.) Musically, it is characterized by a three-line verse in which the first line is repeated twice (most often twelve bars although rural blues often had 10, 11 or 13 bars), basic chord progressions (typically I-IV- V) and the use of the "blues scale": a major scale with the addition of the flatted third and (less often) the flatted seventh, the performer using the flatted notes for added emotional effect. It's impossible to say exactly when blues started; W.C. Handy composed the first published blues song, "Memphis Blues," in 1905, but he said on many occasions that the style of music predated him, and that he was more of an ethnologist than a composer. The poetic and musical form of the blues first crystallized around 1910 and gained popularity through the publication of Handy's "Memphis Blues" (1912) and "St. Louis Blues" (1914). Instrumental blues had been recorded as early as 1913. During the twenties, the blues became a national craze. Mamie Smith recorded the first vocal blues song, 'Crazy Blues' in 1920. The Blues influence on jazz brought it into the mainstream and made possible the records of blues singers like Bessie Smith and later, in the thirties, Billie Holiday.

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Mamie Smith & her Jazz Hounds - Crazy blues (1920)

The entire early history of the blues took place in a time of strict segregation. Black musicians could not eat in the same restaurants, shop in the same stores, use the same rest rooms, or stay in the same hotels as whites. They were often stopped and harassed by police as they traveled from place to place.

In an article on Memphis Minnie, Del Rey points out:

"In 1907 a blues musician played in all kinds of places: house parties, barrel houses, work camps, traveling shows. It's hard to imagine how prevalent live music was before the advent of consumer electronics. Anywhere you hear canned music now would probably have had a live musician--well, maybe not elevators. Sometimes a blues musician got paid with an apple or a can of sardines, sometimes (she) made as much as a hundred dollars."

Things didn't change much for years. Conditions, even into the 50's, were often very harsh for these musicians. Ruth Brown spoke of traveling in the 50's in interviews, and described bathing with rubbing alcohol and dressing in parking lots by the light from the car's headlights, and eating at the back doors of greasy spoons and in alleys behind restaurants.

Performers often worked six nights a week, and many of these jobs were one night only. They would travel all night in cars and broken down buses, with no heat or air conditioning, or on trains to get to the next stop, and then take off to do it again. They developed a system of black families with spare bedrooms they could stay with across the country, or stayed in black rooming houses.

It could be a lonely business, so musicians often teamed up and traveled together, and they formed close bonds with one another. Generally, it was the love of the music and performing, and the lack of any better opportunity, that kept them going. When a performer, like Ma Rainey or Bessie Smith, was able to travel by private train, that was the height of success.

Interestingly, among musicians, there was a lot less prejudice. Musicians tended only to care about the music, and if a person had talent, often that was all that mattered. Black and white musicians often played together, although they seldom traveled together.

1920's

In the 1920's, many of the musicians on Beale Street in New Orleans left town, when Mayor "Boss" Crump shut down Beale to try to put an end to the drinking, gambling, prostitution, and general wild living taking place there. They headed for Chicago and Detroit, where the blues got electrified and became more urban in nature.

Blacks were flooding into the Northern cities anyway, looking for economic opportunity. They were breaking free of the bonds of church and community in the South, and they wanted to be entertained. Black theatres, nightclubs, and bars opened, and all those establishments required entertainers.

Prohibition, in the 20's and ‘30's, only led to an even more booming illegal trade in alcohol. "Speakeasies," illicit nightclubs and gambling institutions had the additional draw of danger and lawlessness, that universal appeal of living on the edge. Black musicians began to play these clubs, too, even those catering to white audiences.

Meanwhile, in the South, black musicians and black partiers were gathering in "juke joints" or "barrelhouses," rented shacks with basically no amenities where people gathered to drink, play, dance, and listen to music.

Along with the men, women began to play in these venues. Many of them had started out playing in church, and many were very young runaways lured by the music business. After all, there were very few attractive job prospects for black women. They could be wives, totally dependent on their men, or they could be maids or washerwomen. A woman who wanted more, who craved some independence, had to look for it in unconventional ways. Music was one of those ways.

By the 1920's, two distinct styles of blues had emerged: City blues, which was performed by one singer backed by a full band, usually including drums, bass, piano, and wind instruments--this style, besides being more influenced by European harmonies and more palatable to white audiences, was also more danceable and very popular with black audiences as well. Country blues was usually performed by one musician who sang and (usually) played acoustic guitar as accompaniment. This is often known as Delta blues, because the foremost practitioners of the style lived in the Mississippi Delta region. Some of the best known early city blues singers were Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey; the best known country blues singers were Robert Johnson and Blind Lemon Jefferson. Johnson and Elmore James were huge influences on 60s rockers like Eric Clapton and The Rolling Stones, who listened religiously to scratchy old 78's by these guys.

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Ma Rainey, "Booze And Blues", Recorded: New York , October 15 1924


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Robert Johnson, Crossroad


1930's and 1940's

Leadbelly, who was recorded in the 1930's while he served time on murder charges, was both a blues singer and a folk singer. "Folk" refers to just about any kind of traditional song, in any of a wide range of styles and patterns, often addressing social issues. (One way of looking at blues is just a kind of folk music that made it big.) The giant of U.S. folk music is Woody Guthrie, composer of "This Land Is Your Land" and many many others. A big folk song is one that everyone growing up in the country knows, although it never hit the sales charts. Folk music was a big influence on Country/Western, and later on rock and roll itself. In his early days, Bob Dylan was heavily influenced by Guthrie.

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Leadbelly - Black Betty


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Woddy Guthrie, This Land is Your Land

Country/Western is basically an urban version of certain kinds of white folk music - traditional melodies made to fit into popular 16-bar forms and standard (major and minor scale) harmonies, blending symphonic and traditional instruments. C&W is usually played in strict 4/4 time, with an unsyncopated "2 and 4" bass. The biggest star of early Country/Western music is Hank Williams, Sr. Country/Western was a big influence on folk-rockers like Steve Stills and Neil Young, and The Byrds, and a smaller but still significant impact on Bob Dylan, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

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I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry, Hank & Drifting Cowboys live on the radio - the Health and Happiness Show, 1949

Around the same time that Country & Western emerged, city blues mixed with jazz and formed Rhythm & Blues - big band, usually dance-oriented music, that retained much of the flavor of the blues while using 32-bar forms and more complex chord progressions. Many Rhythm & Blues singers continued to succeed in the rock era: Ray Charles, for example, is still popular forty-some years later.

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78rpm: Late In The Evening Blues - Ray Charles and his Orchestra, 1950 (1st Solo)- Swing Time 228

In the 1940's, as the popularity of big band jazz waned, many jazz musicians switched to R&B in order to stay alive (John Coltrane was one). They brought phenomenal technical chops and a great deal of musical sophistication to R&B, and jazz musicians were probably responsible for numerous innovations including syncopated bass lines.

1950's

Although jazz musician Charlie Christian had played guitar with an electric pickup as far back as the 1930's, it wasn't until the 1950's that the possibilities of the electric guitar became widely recognized, thanks largely to the efforts of guitar maker Leo Fender and guitarist Les Paul.

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Fender guitar - A Tribute to Leo Fender


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Les Paul - Guitar Magic Live

Following a huge postwar migration of Southern blacks to the Northern Midwest, country blues moved up to Chicago and got urbanized and electrified all at once. Chess Records artists like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and Willie Dixon used electric guitars more prominently than they'd ever been heard before (although out of the three, only Waters was a lead guitarist himself). The Chicago blues scene was a huge influence on 60s rockers, and Howlin' Wolf and Willie Dixon tunes were recorded by everyone from genuine blues artists like Jimi Hendrix to blues popularizers like Led Zeppelin and The Doors. Dylan's mid-60s period was also shaped by Chicago blues.

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Muddy Waters - I Be's Troubled


This is from "Down on Stovall's Plantation" or "The Complete Plantation Recordings," recorded for the Library of Congress in Mississippi in the early 1940s by Alan Lomax before Muddy moved to Chicago. Supposedly Muddy's first recordings. First released in 1966 and re-released in various forms later with interviews.


Chuck Berry, a singer and guitarist who recorded for Chess, put together his electric guitar sound, a driving 4/4 beat derived from Country/Western music but played at a faster tempo, and R&B instrumentation on his first single "Maybelline" in May 1955. Little Richard, originally an R&B singer, increased Chuck's rock tempo another couple of notches, and added R&B touches like wailing sax and syncopated bass. Another Chess artist, Bo Diddley, popularized the Deep South hambone rhythm, essentially the same as the "clave" which underlies Afro- Cuban music. By the end of 1955 rock 'n' rollers were everywhere, focusing on the emerging teen market.

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Taken from the film "Rock and Roll, the early days". You will see a bit from the electric Blues scene from Chicago and Chuck Berry's Maybellene.

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I'm a Man Muddy, Bo, and Little Walter


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Chuck Berry & Bo Diddley Together LIVE, 1973


Meanwhile, in Tennessee, Sun Records was looking to sell rock and roll to a white audience. Sun had Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins in their stable, but their crown jewel was Elvis Presley. Presley succeeded in putting black music across to a white audience, simplifying the music and becoming fabulously wealthy in the process. More white rockers followed, including Bill Haley and the Comets, Buddy Holly (who used Diddley's hambone rhythm in his "Not Fade Away"). Middle-class white kids were dancing their heads off. Their parents were worried. The stage was set for the 1960s.


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The information below is from the PBS series, The Blues

Mississippi Delta Blues


The Mississippi Delta is generally considered to be the birthplace of the blues, with the new musical form emerging around the turn of the 19th century. But the story of the blues dates back before the Civil War and to the West coast of Africa where countless men, women and children were captured by slave traders and shipped across the Atlantic for forced labor on Southern plantations.

Slaves from many African countries carried the songs and music of their respective homelands to America. There, amidst the hard work, fear and oppression, the slaves found a temporary escape in music and expressed both hope and despair in their songs. The musical traditions of numerous African cultures blended as the slaves worked side by side in the steamy fields of the south. Field hollers and work songs were a means of expression and communication — which were often not otherwise allowed by the plantation overseers. With few instruments and little or no money, the slaves used their own voices and clapped percussion as musical tools. Their original methods of creating music became significant elements in the creation of the raw Delta Blues style.

As slaves — and then freed slaves — became more integrated into American culture, the church became a regular part of their Sundays. While the white churchgoers sang formal hymns, the black Southerners brought their passionate vocals, clapping, stomping, and call-and-response methods of singing into their own churches. By the 1870s the resulting style of song, called the Negro Spiritual, became an integral part of music in the south and was a major influence in the evolution of the blues.

But it wasn't until 1903, when bandleader W.C. Handy — the self-proclaimed "Father of the Blues" — "discovered" the blues on a train platform in Tutwiler, Mississippi in the unusual guitar licks of a passing traveler. Handy's composition "Memphis Blues", published in 1912, was the first to include "blues" in a song title. Handy's "discovery" and promotion of the new style eventually led to acceptance of the blues as a viable musical form and launched it into the mainstream and beyond black folk culture, forever changing the face of American music.

Dusty juke joints were the main stage for early blues musicians and often the only local source of entertainment for rural blacks. Blues musicians also traveled as part of Vaudeville or Medicine shows and enthusiasm for the blues spread as the shows commanded huge audiences across the south.
The Mississippi Delta was fertile ground for the roots of the blues. With its history of slavery, racial oppression, the Ku Klux Klan, and Jim Crow laws, plus baking heat, rampant illiteracy and poverty, the Delta was a cruel place for many African Americans well into the middle of the 20th century. The blues documented the experience of southern blacks better than any other form of cultural expression.

The songs and music of the early Delta blues were passed down orally, in written form, and later preserved in field recordings made by traveling ethno-musicologists such as the father and son team of John and Alan Lomax in the early 1940s. The earliest blues records were made in the 1920s, but very little recording took place in the Mississippi Delta area. Delta blues musicians like Charley Patton and Skip James headed to northern cities for recording sessions then returned to their homes in the Delta to continue playing juke joints, country dances, and fish fries.

In the 1920s and '30s Delta bluesmen Charley Patton, Son House, and Robert Johnson influenced the next generation of Mississippi born blues greats like Muddy Waters, who took the music north as they joined the mass exodus of blacks from the rural south in the '40s and '50s. The acoustic sound of the Delta blues was amplified and electrified in Memphis and Chicago to accommodate the tastes of the newly urban black population, and, with the growth of its recording industry, Chicago eventually eclipsed the Delta as the center of the blues.

The Delta area has produced the largest number of influential and important blues artists and, though never a major center of the music business, it is still the emotional heart of the blues for musicians, fans, travelers, and historians.

Style of Blues

The Mississippi Delta gave birth to a blues style that links most directly to the work songs and field hollers of slaves on Southern plantations. The slaves brought the musical traditions of their African homelands to America and, with limited resources for playing music, used their voices as instruments, accompanied by hand-clapping as percussion. The resulting Delta blues style is regarded as the most elemental form and is characterized by uneven rhyming patterns, minimal melody, spoken rather than sung lyrics, and moaning vocalizations.

As the musical form began to evolve, Delta blues artists often worked solo, accompanying themselves on guitar or harmonica. Bottleneck and slide guitar, a rough and rhythmic intensity, and raw, passionate vocalizing continue to serve as identifiers of the Delta Blues style.
Listen for the percussive style of slide guitar in Bukka White's "Panama Limited" and the emotive vocalizations in Robert Johnson's "Cross Road Blues," (above):

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Title: "Panama Limited", Written and performed by: Bukka White, Recorded: 1930


The earliest blues musicians came from the Mississippi Delta region, where the uniquely American musical genre was born. Pioneering blues artists like Charley Patton and Tommy Johnson in the 1920s and '30s influenced younger musicians such as Son House, Robert Johnson, and Bukka White, who in turn inspired blues greats like Muddy Waters, who eventually took the blues northward to Chicago in the 1940s and contributed to the emergence of both American and British rock and roll.

The bluesmen poured their hearts and hardships out through passionate, raw and evocative songs in the Delta blues style and their influence on new musicians continues to this day. Learn more about the Mississippi Delta's most significant musicians and their music, below:


Willie Brown
Born: August 6, 1900, Clarksdale, Mississippi
Died: December 30, 1952, Tunica, Mississippi


Willie Brown was an outstanding guitarist as well as vocalist who had an enormous influence on the origination and development of Delta blues. Brown performed regularly with blues legends Charley Patton, Son House and Robert Johnson, and also backed Patton and House on recordings. He is known as an accompanist rather than a soloist, although he did record three extraordinary solo performances. Later in his career he primarily performed with Son House. Both Brown and House disappeared from the music scene during the 1940s, and, sadly, Brown died before the blues revival of the 1960s, when many of his contemporaries were rediscovered by blues scholars.

Essential listening: "M & O Blues," "Make Me a Pallet on the Floor," "Future Blues"

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Son House
Born: March 21, 1902, Riverton, Mississippi
Died: October 19, 1988, Detroit, Michigan
Also known as: Eddie James House, Jr.


Son House was originally a preacher, and he brought the fiery intensity of Baptist gospel to his interpretation of Delta blues. A powerfully emotional performer, his presence onstage was riveting and almost frightening in its ability to move the listener. He was influenced by and often played with blues greats Charley Patton and Willie Brown, yet his style remained distinctly his own. He is credited as the primary influence on blues legends Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters as well as Bonnie Raitt and many others. House disappeared from the blues scene from the early 1940s through the mid-1960s, until researchers tracked him down, whereupon he began a second career as a respected performer. His past association with Patton and Johnson, as well as his own legendary skill, made him particularly valuable and respected as a living record of blues history. As music critic Cub Koda put it, "Hailed as the greatest living Delta singer still actively performing, nobody dared call themselves the king of the blues as long as Son House was around." *

Essential listening: "Preachin' the Blues," "Death Letter," "John the Revelator," "Dry Spell Blues," "My Black Mama"

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Mississippi John Hurt
Born: July 3, 1893, Teoc, Mississippi
Died: November 2, 1966, Grenada, Mississippi
Also known as: John Smith Hurt


Mississippi John Hurt brought unprecedented warmth to the blues, characterized by his gentle, gracious presence as a performer and the tenderness and depth of his songwriting. Hurt mastered a form of finger picking on the guitar that significantly influenced generations of blues, folk and rock musicians. From the time he was 14, Hurt performed locally in and near his tiny hometown while making his living as a farm laborer. Like other Mississippi masters, he was tracked down later in life by a blues fan and scholar and introduced to the burgeoning blues revival of the mid-1960s. During the last three years of his life, to his surprise and delight, he was accepted with open arms by thousands of fans and subsequently made his living as a performer. He has influenced the musicianship and songwriting of blues, folk and rock and his musical descendants include Taj Mahal, Ben Harper, Bob Dylan and many others.

Essential listening: "Frankie," "Louis Collins," "Avalon Blues," "Stack O' Lee Blues," "Big Leg Blues"


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Elmore James
Born: June 27, 1910, Richland, Mississippi
Died: May 24, 1963, Chicago, Illinois


Elmore James was a master of slide guitar, and has influenced just about everyone who has ever picked up a slide. His powerful vocals would naturally and dramatically crack and catch, giving authenticity to his sound. His on-and-off day job as a radio repairman complemented his art — he experimented with sound distortion decades before it became a staple of modern rock. James began performing at the age of 14, and played with Robert Johnson, Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson and others. His style as a vocalist and guitarist were heavily influenced by Robert Johnson, and his reworking of Johnson's original "(I Believe I'll) Dust My Broom" became a signature hit for him (under the shortened title "Dust My Broom"). Like his contemporary Muddy Waters, James brought his version of Delta blues to Chicago, where his amazing band, the Broomdusters, added to the city's superb music scene. James has influenced blues and rock and roll musicians, from B.B. King and Eric Clapton to Johnny Winter and Duane Allman, as well as many others.

Essential listening: "Dust My Broom," "The Sky is Crying," "Hand in Hand," "Shake Your Money Maker"

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Skip James
Born: June 21, 1902, Bentonia, Mississippi
Died: October 3, 1969, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Also known as: Nehemiah Curtis James


Skip James is known for his unique, haunting style of blues. He combined falsetto vocals with minor chords, complex finger picking, an idiosyncratic tuning, and a highly personal style of songwriting to create some of the genre's most original music. James was one of Robert Johnson's biggest influences; his original song "Devil Got My Woman" was reworked by Johnson and became the latter's signature hit "Hellhound on my Trail". Like many of his contemporaries of the early Delta blues scene, he turned to another means of livelihood, becoming a preacher at the age of 30 and turning his musical attention to gospel. By chance James was rediscovered during the early 1960s, and subsequently thrilled blues fans at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival, thereby re-launching his career. It was obvious that his musical skills were still as sharp as ever and his unique style was intact. In 1966 the band Cream released a popular version of James's original "I'm So Glad."

Essential listening: "Devil Got My Woman," "I'm So Glad," "Sickbed Blues," "Hard Time Killing Floor Blues"

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Robert Johnson
Born: May 8, 1911, Hazelhurst, Mississippi
Died: August 28, 1938, Greenwood, Mississippi


A young Robert Johnson hung around the Saturday night dances in the Delta watching Son House, Willie Brown and Charley Patton play and, to their amusement, trying to play guitar during the breaks. Years later Johnson ran into House and Brown, and Johnson's skill on the instrument stunned them. He had acquired his skill in such a short time that it inspired a rumor that became legend — Johnson must have sold his soul to the devil. His tortured voice and emotional intensity seemed to give credence to the legend, although it is more likely that his own determination and inherent talent, as well as his exposure to the great Delta bluesmen, deserve the credit for his genius. In addition to being a gifted lyricist and composer and innovative guitarist, Johnson transferred "boogie woogie" from the piano to the guitar, playing the bottom guitar strings to accompany himself with a bass line, a technique that has become standard in blues composition. His influence on blues, from Muddy Waters and Eric Clapton to the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, is legendary. Essential listening: "Walkin' Blues," "Love in Vain Blues," "Come on in My Kitchen," "Terraplane Blues," "Crossroad Blues"


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Tommy Johnson
Born: 1896, Terry, Mississippi
Died: November 1, 1956, Crystal Springs, Mississippi


Tommy Johnson was a hell-raiser who could belt out the blues with a wide vocal range, from a low throaty snarl to a high falsetto. He had a dramatic flair in performance similar to his contemporary, Delta blues king Charley Patton, and in the early, pre-Robert Johnson days his influence on the genre was second only to that of Patton and Son House. He was not a virtuoso on the guitar, but had an original, evocative style, well-matched to his theatrical delivery. Johnson significantly influenced blues greats Muddy Waters, Robert Nighthawk and especially Howlin' Wolf, who would carry on and even outdo the Patton/Johnson tradition of incendiary, down-and-dirty showmanship. Johnson was also the quintessential blues bad boy, with a penchant for rampant womanizing and for alcohol, the latter of which led him to drastic extremes. He was known to down denatured alcohol, used for artificial heat, when the real thing wasn't available, a habit he documented in his original song "Canned Heat," from which the 1960s blues-rock group took its name. Johnson left behind a small but outstanding collection of recordings, almost all of which became classics. Essential listening: "Maggie Campbell," "Big Road Blues," "Cool Drink of Water," "Canned Heat"


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Charley Patton
Born: 1891, Edwards, Mississippi
Died: April 28, 1934, Indianola, Mississippi


Charley Patton is the uncontested father of the Delta blues. His ferocious, high energy performance brought the house down on a regular basis with a gritty, raw vocal style and an ability to act as a one-man percussion section with his guitar, creating an innovative flow of rhythm and counter-rhythm. His uninhibited performances onstage were reflected in his lifestyle — he was a match for any one of his musical descendants as a hard drinker and womanizer. Patton's legacy has inspired, directly and indirectly, generations of both blues and rock and roll musicians. The guitar gymnastics of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan are echoes of Patton's performance style, and his use of rhythm and "popping" bass notes presaged funk by decades. Patton influenced and played with blues greats Son House and Willie Brown, and also influenced Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Johnny Shines, John Lee Hooker, and Pop Staples, among many others. Essential listening: "Pony Blues," "High Water Everywhere," "Oh Death," "High Sheriff Blues"

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Muddy Waters
Born: April 4, 1915, Rolling Forks, Mississippi
Died: April 30, 1983, Westmont, Illinois
Also known as: McKinley Morganfield


Muddy Waters grew up in the Mississippi Delta, singing as he worked in the cotton fields as a boy and playing near his favorite muddy creek — thus the nickname. He picked up a guitar when he was 17. Influenced by the deeply emotional performer Son House as well as Robert Johnson, Waters became an accomplished bluesman himself. In the early 1940s he took the raw depth of the Delta blues to Chicago, and in a few years he had revolutionized the city's blues scene. His many contributions to Chicago blues include his skill with an electric guitar, his tough, powerful vocals, and his evocative, compelling songwriting. As a bandleader he established the ensemble sound and style of Chicago electric blues — just about every great Chicago blues player of that time was in Waters's band at one point or another. British rockers the Rolling Stones took their name from a Waters's song — a testament to Waters's extensive influence on both American and British rock and roll. Essential listening: "Rolling Stone," "Honey Bee," "I Can't Be Satisfied," "Mannish Boy," "Got My Mojo Working"


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Bukka White
Born: November 12, 1909, Houston, Mississippi*
Died: February 26, 1977, Memphis Tennessee
Also known as: Booker T. Washington White


Bukka White moved to the Mississippi Delta as an adolescent and was influenced by Charley Patton — as a result he played a particularly pure form of Delta blues. White's devotion to the music was considerable; after a run-in with the law in Mississippi in 1937, he jumped bail in order to record in Chicago. He was apprehended and incarcerated at Mississippi's Parchman Farm, where he was popular as an entertainer, and where his gift for songwriting wasn't hampered — like many of his originals, the song "Parchman Farm Blues" became a classic. White's real taste of fame came after Bob Dylan recorded White's original song "Fixin' to Die Blues" in the early 1960s. Curious about the song's original author, two young blues players found White by sending a general delivery letter to Aberdeen, Mississippi (tipped off by his blues song of the same title). These leaps in visibility led to White's fame in later life, as both a performer and a storyteller, as he embodied both the Delta blues and its rich history.

Essential Listening: "Shake 'Em on Down," "Panama Limited," "Aberdeen Mississippi Blues," "Fixin' to Die Blues," "Parchman Farm Blues"

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Below is a great interactive map from PBS highlighting different parts of the south that were influential in the formation of the Delta Blues. Click on an area to learn more about it.





What better way to learn about the Chicago Blues than from a famous Chicago bluesman himself. Click on the link below to take a tour with Buddy Guy!




Sources:
books.gather.com
warr.org
pbs.org
chicagotours.com
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

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Gilbert's Girl
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Re: Life Tidbit #6 ~ The Blues

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:09 am

:ok:

Back in the 70's the BBC did a series called All You Need is Love which was a series about popular music going back to the history of music and all its complexities. It delved into all the different aspects of Blues music etc and everything else you can imagine. Last year I managed to see this documantry again since it was playing on one of the tv channels here a it looks a bit dated now but was still very interesting at least the bit about Blues was :lol: The Stones were seen breifly in one of the episode preparing to go on stage in 1975 :lol:
I think all the different types takes some geting your head round so well done for doing the research into it DITHOT not an easy one to do I think.
Buddy Guy can be seen performing with the Stones in the Martin Scorssese film Shine A Light :ok:
I know Mannish Boy from the Stones Love You Live Album they do a good rendition :ok: but I'm not really familiar with Muddy Waters music

Its quite amazing listening to those clips just how close to the blues the Stones songs are and I don't just mean the covers of the great Blues they did but the influence on their music as a whole. :ok:

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Re: Life Tidbit #6 ~ The Blues

Unread postby stroch » Sat Oct 15, 2011 1:03 pm

Fabulous tidbit, they all are, but this one really is terrific. I have been blessed and really lucky to have seen so many of these people play live; it's like going to church, or maybe heaven. A lot of the Delta bluesmen -- and women -- were still farm workers in the 60s and early 70s, and could be found any weekend playing at juke joints and at house parties. It's good to be from the South, and especially from New Orleans!

Great music, great job!

A note -- Beale St. is in Memphis; and Oh, Black Betty = Johnny in white, with long blonde hair.
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Re: Life Tidbit #6 ~ The Blues

Unread postby nebraska » Sat Oct 15, 2011 1:38 pm

Some of these tidbits are like mini-books in themselves, or at least a long chapter! What a lot of work you have gone to! :thanks!: What is really fun about the music tidbits is being able to see/hear the performances which adds so much to the information, even if I need to dwell in ONBC-land a little longer each day to check it all out.

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Re: Life Tidbit #6 ~ The Blues

Unread postby Cyn » Sat Oct 15, 2011 1:52 pm

stroch wrote:It's good to be from the South, and especially from New Orleans!


Oh how I LOOOOOOOOVE New Orleans!! It's second only to NYC in my list of all-time favorite cities. I've been there only twice and used to love to sit in the open-doored bars, drinking Scotch and sodas and watching and listening to--absorbing into every pore--the live jazz by various bands and singers. And Preservation Hall where no alcohol was served, lol. If you were there, it was ONLY for the jazz. :goodvibes: Such great memories!
(Sorry for going off topic a bit!)
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Re: Life Tidbit #6 ~ The Blues

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Sat Oct 15, 2011 1:54 pm

nebraska wrote:Some of these tidbits are like mini-books in themselves, or at least a long chapter! What a lot of work you have gone to! :thanks!: What is really fun about the music tidbits is being able to see/hear the performances which adds so much to the information, even if I need to dwell in ONBC-land a little longer each day to check it all out.

:highfive:

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Re: Life Tidbit #6 ~ The Blues

Unread postby Joni » Sat Oct 15, 2011 4:34 pm

stroch wrote:Fabulous tidbit, they all are, but this one really is terrific.

Absolutely!

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Re: Life Tidbit #6 ~ The Blues

Unread postby Buster » Sat Oct 15, 2011 5:46 pm

Oh, man, what a treat! Instantly transported back to my high school days, when we would all cut school, go to Zip's house and smoke and listen to the blues all afternoon. Maybe it wasn't good for our grades, but it sure was good for our souls.
Thanks for an awesome tidbit!

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Re: Life Tidbit #6 ~ The Blues

Unread postby shadowydog » Sat Oct 15, 2011 5:50 pm

Interesting series of tidbits. does anybody know where the term rock n roll came from and what it really means? :biggrin:
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Re: Life Tidbit #6 ~ The Blues

Unread postby stroch » Sat Oct 15, 2011 7:33 pm

Can't answer that, there might be minors on board!!

Allen Freed, or his boss, first started using it for the musical genre, but the term's been around for a long while.

edited for typo.
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Re: Life Tidbit #6 ~ The Blues

Unread postby Cyn » Sat Oct 15, 2011 8:51 pm

Buster wrote:Oh, man, what a treat! Instantly transported back to my high school days, when we would all cut school, go to Zip's house and smoke and listen to the blues all afternoon. Maybe it wasn't good for our grades, but it sure was good for our souls.


So perfectly put! :cool: I was doing the exact same thing!
We have almost come to expect from Johnny Depp performances that are better than they have to be. ~Stephen Daly
He doesn't belong in show business...he belongs somewhere better. ~Sarah Jessica Parker :heart2:

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Re: Life Tidbit #6 ~ The Blues

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:41 pm

stroch wrote:Fabulous tidbit, they all are, but this one really is terrific. I have been blessed and really lucky to have seen so many of these people play live; it's like going to church, or maybe heaven. A lot of the Delta bluesmen -- and women -- were still farm workers in the 60s and early 70s, and could be found any weekend playing at juke joints and at house parties. It's good to be from the South, and especially from New Orleans!

Great music, great job!

A note -- Beale St. is in Memphis; and Oh, Black Betty = Johnny in white, with long blonde hair.


Very lucky indeed, stroch! I have seen a few of them myself but not back in the day other than B.B. King in the late 60's. New Orleans is one of my favorite places in the world. My apologies about Beall St., I totally know that...should proofread my work more closely. :blush: I did pick Black Betty for that reason! :grin:

This tidbit was VERY fun to do. One of my favorite satellite radio stations is Bluesville. Many thanks to PBS for their awesome series on the Blues and to the posters at YouTube as well!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Life Tidbit #6 ~ The Blues

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Sun Oct 16, 2011 3:02 am

shadowydog wrote:Interesting series of tidbits. does anybody know where the term rock n roll came from and what it really means? :biggrin:


You can read about it in the link SD

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Re: Life Tidbit #6 ~ The Blues

Unread postby Bix » Sun Oct 16, 2011 11:23 am

WOW, DITHOT! Just WOW! As others have said, you surpassed even your own record of excellence with this one! Now I know where I will be for a couple of hours today. I was privileged to see several of these blues players over the years also and I treasure those hours. Great job!
Live! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! ~Auntie Mame

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Re: Life Tidbit #6 ~ The Blues

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Sun Oct 16, 2011 11:33 am

I'm impressed that so many of you have managed to see so many of them but I'm guessing since they are fairly "local" it was easier to get to see them


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