Featuring the greatest names in early blues music including Blind Lemon Jefferson, Bessie Smith, Charley Patton and Ma Rainey. The perfect overview of the many different styles and key performers of early blues on one album. An incredibly diverse selection of tracks including bottleneck guitar, barrelhouse piano, classic songster tunes and vaudeville blues. An album which traces the development of blues music during its early recorded history of the 1920s. An unique insight into the first great wave of blues artists who remain an inspiration to this day.
The first documented description of what we now recognise as the blues occurred in 1903 when the composer and musician W.C. Handy was waiting for a train at Tutwiler, Mississippi. He heard a man playing a guitar by pressing a knife against the strings and singing a song with the line, “Goin’ where the Southern cross the Dog”. Handy went on to become a great collector and populariser of the blues and was hugely influential in bringing this local folk music from the Mississippi Delta to public attention. Along with Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey spearheaded the 1920s “classic era” of recorded blues. Handy’s ‘St. Louis Blues’ were recorded in the mid-1920s heyday of the classic blues era, shortly before the female dominance of the genre was eclipsed by the rougher sound of the country blues. Likewise, many white musicians were heavily influenced by the blues including the ‘Father of Country Music’, Jimmie Rodgers whose yodel-infused blues became a prominent element of his music.
There can be little doubt that the blues grew up in the Mississippi Delta as an elaboration on work chants, slave songs, and the lyrical and haunting field hollers. Unquestionably the most influential of all the blues forms, the Delta blues laid the foundations for what was to become rock and roll, with all roads leading to its father figure Charley Patton who served as a major influence on other legendary bluesmen who followed including Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. Along with the guitar, the piano came into its own in the barrelhouses, as roving musicians hammered out high-spirited tunes for the drinkers and dancers.
Kansas Joe & Memphis Minnie - When The Levee Breaks Scrapper Blackwell - Kokomo Blues Ma Rainey - Stack O’Lee Blues Blind Blake - West Coast Blues Henry Thomas - Fishing Blues Memphis Jug Band - Stealin’, Stealin’ Victoria Spivey - T.B. Blues Blind Lemon Jefferson - See That My Grave Is Kept Clean Cow Cow Davenport - Cow Cow Blues Blind Willie Johnson - Mother’s Children Have A Hard Time Dick Justice - Brown Skin Blues Bo Weevil Jackson - Devil And My Brown Blues Mississippi John Hurt - Got The Blues, Can’t Be Satisfied Hambone Willie Newbern - Roll And Tumble Blues Clarence “Pinetop” Smith - Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie Texas Alexander - Section Gang Blues Blind Willie McTell - Statesboro Blues Speckled Red - The Dirty Dozen Charley Patton - Screamin’ And Hollerin’ The Blues Jimmie Rodgers - Blue Yodel No. 1 (T For Texas) Bessie Smith - St. Louis Blues Papa Charlie Jackson - All I Want Is A Spoonful Weaver And Beasley - Bottleneck Blues Tampa Red & Georgia Tom - It’s Tight Like That - No. 2 Tommy Johnson - Canned Heat Blues