Tag Archives: The Blues

Willie “61” Blackwell, A Blues Performer Without a Wikipedia Entry, 1905-c.1972 (Blues Stories, 23)

[NOTE:  I suppose “obscurity” is a relative concept.  Before the modern era, one would actually have had to “research” a person in various “hard copy” sources, before lamenting his or her “obscurity.” In more recent years, however, with the Internet in general, … Continue reading

Posted in American History, Delta Blues, Historical Reflection, History, Popular Culture, Research, Retirement, Southern History, The Blues, Uncategorized, Willie '61' Blackwell | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Early Blues Divas (Blues Stories, 19)

[NOTE:  A different take on an earlier post, “20th –Century Blues Women,” this time emphasizing the decade of the 1920s.] * * * * * 2003 was designated by Congress as “The Year of the Blues” to commemorate W.C. Handy’s first encounter with that music, … Continue reading

Posted in American History, Bessie Smith, Big Mama Thornton, Blues Women, Books, Chicago Blues, Historical Reflection, History, Interdisciplinary Work, Ma Rainey, Mamie Smith, Memphis Minnie, Memphis Minnie, Popular Culture, Research, Retirement, Sippie Wallace and Bonnie Raitt, Southern History, Teaching, The Blues, Uncategorized, WP Long Form, WP Long Read | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Early Blues–Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Everything (Blues Stories, 17)

A Review of R.A. Lawson, Jim Crow’s Counterculture: The Blues and Black Southerners, 1890-1945. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2010. [NOTE: As I’ve explained elsewhere, my initial interest in the Blues developed because my older son and I were … Continue reading

Posted in Age of Jim Crow, Alan Lomax, American History, Big Bill Broonzy, Chicago Blues, Civil Rights Movement, Delta Blues, Historical Reflection, History, History Curriculum, History of Rock and Roll, Interdisciplinary Work, Leadbelly, Popular Culture, Robert Johnson, Southern History, Teaching, The Blues, Uncategorized, Urban Blues | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Chitlin’ Circuit: Life, Death, and a Musical Revolution (Blues Stories, 14)

A Review of Preston Lauterbach, The Chitlin’ Circuit and the Road to Rock ‘n’ Roll. New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company, 2011. As Blues fans know, the “chitlin’ circuit” kept the Blues alive after World War II and … Continue reading

Posted in Age of Jim Crow, American History, B.B. King, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Delta Blues, History, Muddy Waters, Research, Southern History, TBone Walker, The Blues, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Voice of the Urban Blues–Bobby “Blue” Bland,1930-2013 (Blues Stories, 13)

A Review of Charles Farley, Soul of the Man: Bobby “Blue” Bland. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2011. Throughout his long career, Bobby Bland was introduced as “the world’s greatest blues singer,” and, according to biographer Charles Farley, this was … Continue reading

Posted in Age of Jim Crow, B.B. King, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Civil Rights Movement, Delta Blues, History, Research, Retirement, Southern History, The Blues, Uncategorized, Urban Blues | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

B.B. King, “King of the Blues” (Blues Stories, 12)

There is a generic career arc for many twentieth-century Blues performers: a poverty-stricken background in the Jim Crow South, especially the Mississippi Delta; “escape” to the “land of opportunity” somewhere in the North or Midwest; early career success, followed by … Continue reading

Posted in American History, B.B. King, Books, Civil Rights Movement, Delta Blues, Historical Reflection, History, Interdisciplinary Work, John Lee Hooker, Research, Retirement, Southern (Georgia) History, Southern History, Teaching, The Blues, Urban Blues | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mississippi John Hurt, The Yoda of the Blues (Blues Stories, 11)

A Review of Philip R. Ratcliffe, Mississippi John Hurt: His Life, His Times, His Blues. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2011. This entry in the University Press of Mississippi’s “American Made Music” series is very interesting, for several reasons. The … Continue reading

Posted in Age of Jim Crow, Big Bill Broonzy, Civil Rights Movement, Delta Blues, History, John Lee Hooker, Mississippi John Hurt, Muddy Waters, Son House, Southern History, The Blues | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

20th-Century Blues Men (Blues Stories, 5)

[Note:  This post is the companion piece to “20th-Century Blues Women.”  A slightly different format this time, without an introductory essay (for those interested in one, go here.); instead, I offer biographical sketches of some favorite 20th-century Blues men and a song or two that capture the essence … Continue reading

Posted in "Charley Patton", Alan Lomax, American History, Blind Willie McTell, Chicago Blues, Delta Blues, History, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Piedmont Blues, Research, Robert Johnson, Son House, Southern (Georgia) History, Southern History, The Blues | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment