Blues Singers: Biographies of 50 Legendary Artists of the Early 20th Century

Blues Singers: Biographies of 50 Legendary Artists of the Early 20th Century

by David Dicaire

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Overview

This reference volume is intended for both the casual and the most avid blues fan. It is divided into five separately introduced sections and covers 50 artists with names like Muddy, Gatemouth and Hound Dog who helped shape 20th-century American music. Beginning with the pioneering Mississippi Delta bluesmen, the book then follows the spread of the genre to the city, in the section on the Chicago Blues School. The third segment covers the Texas blues tradition; the fourth, the great blueswomen; and the fifth, the genre’s development outside its main schools. The styles covered range from Virginia-Piedmont to Bentonia and from barrelhouse to boogie-woogie. The main text is augmented by substantial discographies and a lengthy bibliography.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786406067
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 10/01/1999
Pages: 300
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

David Dicaire is the author of numerous works about music history. He lives in Leamington, Ontario, Canada.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



Introduction 1



PART ONE: THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA BLUESMEN 5

Charley Patton (1891–1934): Pony Blues 6

Eddie “Son” House (1902–1988): Preachin’ the Blues 10

Skip James (1903–1969): I’m so Glad 16

Big Joe Williams (1903–1982): Poor Joe's Blues 20

Robert Johnson (1911–1938): At the Crossroads 25

Robert Jr. Lockwood (1915– ): The Master’s Apprentice 32

Johnny Shines (1915–1992): A Traveling Companion 36

John Lee Hooker (1917– ): Boogie Child 41

Albert King (1923–1992): Born Under a Blues Sign 47

B. B. King (1925– ): The Little Blues Boy 52



PART TWO: THE CHICAGO BLUES SCHOOL 63

Big Bill Broonzy (1893–1958): Key to the Highway 64

Tampa Red (1904–1981): The Guitar Wizard 69

John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson (1914–1948): The Bluebird Blues 74

Muddy Waters (1915V1983): Catfish Blues 79

Willie Dixon (1915–1992): The Background Man 87

Howlin' Wolf (1910–1976): Growlin’ the Blues 92

Elmore James (1918–1963): The Broomduster 99

Sonny Boy Williamson II (1910–1965): One Way Out Blues 104

Jimmy Reed (1925–1976): The Sweet Blues 109

Little Walter (1930–1968): The Mississippi Saxophone 114

Otis Spann (1930–1970): A Blues Story 119

Otis Rush (1934– ): Double Trouble Blues 123

Buddy Guy (1936– ): The First Time I Met the Blues 128

Magic Sam (1937–1969): West Side Blues 133



PART THREE: THE TEXAS BLUES TRADITION 139

Blind Lemon Jefferson (1897–1929): The Blues Comet 140

Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter (1889–1949): 'Lectric Chair Blues 147

Aaron T-Bone Walker (1910–1975): Stormy Monday Blues 152

Sam “Lightnin” Hopkins (1912–1985): Lightnin’ Strikes 158

Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown (1924– ): Gatemouth’s Blues 164

Albert Collins (1932–1993): The Iceman Cometh 169

Freddie King (1935–1976): A Link in the Chain 174

Johnny Copeland (1937–1997): The Fire Maker 178



PART FOUR: WOMEN OF THE BLUES 185

Ma Rainey (1886–1939): Mother of the Blues 186

Bessie Smith (1894–1939): Empress of the Blues 191

Ida Cox (1896–1967): Raisin’ Cain 196

Sippie Wallace (1898–1986): Special Delivery Blues 201

Victoria Spivey (1906–1976): Moanin’ the Blues 205

Willie Mae Thornton (1926–1984): Hound Dog Blues 210

Koko Taylor (1935– ): I Got What It Takes 215

Etta James (1938– ): The Messenger’s Voice 219



PART FIVE: BLUES OUTSIDE THE DELTA 225

Lonnie Johnson (1894–1970): Mr. Johnson’s Blues 226

Blind Willie McTell (1901–1959): Dean of Atlanta Blues 232

Pete Johnson (1904–1967): A Boogie-Woogie King 236

Roosevelt Sykes (1906–1984): The Honeydripper Blues 241

Blind Boy Fuller (1907–1941): Rattlesnakin’ Daddy Blues 246

Big Joe Turner (1911–1985): Shoutin’ the Blues 251

Sonny Terry (1911–1986) and Brownie McGhee (1915–1996): East Coast Blues Duo 256

Professor Longhair (1918–1980): New Orleans House Party 262

John Mayall (1934– ): The Blues Professor 267



Appendix: Recordings by Three or More Blues Singers 275

Selected Bibliography 279

Index 285

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