Blues
Overview
Blues is the name given to both a musical form
Musical form
The term musical form refers to the overall structure or plan of a piece of music, and it describes the layout of a composition as divided into sections...

 and a music genre
Music genre
A music genre is a categorical and typological construct that identifies musical sounds as belonging to a particular category and type of music that can be distinguished from other types of music...

 that originated in African-American communities of primarily the "Deep South
Deep South
The Deep South is a descriptive category of the cultural and geographic subregions in the American South. Historically, it is differentiated from the "Upper South" as being the states which were most dependent on plantation type agriculture during the pre-Civil War period...

" of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 at the end of the 19th century from spirituals
Spiritual (music)
Spirituals are religious songs which were created by enslaved African people in America.-Terminology and origin:...

, work song
Work song
A work song is a piece of music closely connected to a specific form of work, either sung while conducting a task or a song linked to a task or trade which might be a connected narrative, description, or protest song....

s, field holler
Field holler
Field Hollers as well as work songs were African American styles of music from before the American Civil War, this style of music is closely related to spirituals in the sense that it expressed religious feelings and included subtle hints about ways of escaping slavery, among other things...

s, shouts
Ring shout
A shout or ring shout is an ecstatic, transcendent religious ritual, first practiced by African slaves in the West Indies and the United States, in which worshipers move in a circle while shuffling and stomping their feet and clapping their hands...

 and chant
Chant
Chant is the rhythmic speaking or singing of words or sounds, often primarily on one or two pitches called reciting tones. Chants may range from a simple melody involving a limited set of notes to highly complex musical structures Chant (from French chanter) is the rhythmic speaking or singing...

s, and rhymed simple narrative ballads. The blues form, ubiquitous in jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

, rhythm and blues
Rhythm and blues
Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated to R&B, is a genre of popular African American music that originated in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a...

, and rock and roll
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

 is characterized by specific chord progressions, of which the twelve-bar blues chord progression is the most common.
Encyclopedia
Blues is the name given to both a musical form
Musical form
The term musical form refers to the overall structure or plan of a piece of music, and it describes the layout of a composition as divided into sections...

 and a music genre
Music genre
A music genre is a categorical and typological construct that identifies musical sounds as belonging to a particular category and type of music that can be distinguished from other types of music...

 that originated in African-American communities of primarily the "Deep South
Deep South
The Deep South is a descriptive category of the cultural and geographic subregions in the American South. Historically, it is differentiated from the "Upper South" as being the states which were most dependent on plantation type agriculture during the pre-Civil War period...

" of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 at the end of the 19th century from spirituals
Spiritual (music)
Spirituals are religious songs which were created by enslaved African people in America.-Terminology and origin:...

, work song
Work song
A work song is a piece of music closely connected to a specific form of work, either sung while conducting a task or a song linked to a task or trade which might be a connected narrative, description, or protest song....

s, field holler
Field holler
Field Hollers as well as work songs were African American styles of music from before the American Civil War, this style of music is closely related to spirituals in the sense that it expressed religious feelings and included subtle hints about ways of escaping slavery, among other things...

s, shouts
Ring shout
A shout or ring shout is an ecstatic, transcendent religious ritual, first practiced by African slaves in the West Indies and the United States, in which worshipers move in a circle while shuffling and stomping their feet and clapping their hands...

 and chant
Chant
Chant is the rhythmic speaking or singing of words or sounds, often primarily on one or two pitches called reciting tones. Chants may range from a simple melody involving a limited set of notes to highly complex musical structures Chant (from French chanter) is the rhythmic speaking or singing...

s, and rhymed simple narrative ballads. The blues form, ubiquitous in jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

, rhythm and blues
Rhythm and blues
Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated to R&B, is a genre of popular African American music that originated in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a...

, and rock and roll
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

 is characterized by specific chord progressions, of which the twelve-bar blues chord progression is the most common. The blue note
Blue note
In jazz and blues, a blue note is a note sung or played at a slightly lower pitch than that of the major scale for expressive purposes. Typically the alteration is a semitone or less, but this varies among performers and genres. Country blues, in particular, features wide variations from the...

s that, for expressive purposes are sung or played flattened or gradually bent (minor 3rd to major 3rd) in relation to the pitch
Pitch (music)
Pitch is an auditory perceptual property that allows the ordering of sounds on a frequency-related scale.Pitches are compared as "higher" and "lower" in the sense associated with musical melodies,...

 of the major scale
Major scale
In music theory, the major scale or Ionian scale is one of the diatonic scales. It is made up of seven distinct notes, plus an eighth which duplicates the first an octave higher. In solfege these notes correspond to the syllables "Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti/Si, ", the "Do" in the parenthesis at...

, are also an important part of the sound.

The blues genre is based on the blues form but possesses other characteristics such as specific lyrics, bass lines and instruments. Blues can be subdivided into several subgenres ranging from country
Country blues
Country blues is a general term that refers to all the acoustic, mainly guitar-driven forms of the blues. It often incorporated elements of rural gospel, ragtime, hillbilly, and dixieland jazz...

 to urban blues that were more or less popular during different periods of the 20th century. Best known are the Delta
Delta blues
The Delta blues is one of the earliest styles of blues music. It originated in the Mississippi Delta, a region of the United States that stretches from Memphis, Tennessee in the north to Vicksburg, Mississippi in the south, Helena, Arkansas in the west to the Yazoo River on the east. The...

, Piedmont
Piedmont blues
Piedmont blues refers primarily to a guitar style, the Piedmont fingerstyle, which is characterized by a fingerpicking approach in which a regular, alternating thumb bass string rhythmic pattern supports a syncopated melody using the treble strings generally picked with the fore-finger,...

, Jump
Jump blues
Jump blues is an up-tempo blues usually played by small groups and featuring horns. It was very popular in the 1940s, and the movement was a precursor to the arrival of rhythm and blues and rock and roll...

 and Chicago blues
Chicago blues
The Chicago blues is a form of blues music that developed in Chicago, Illinois, by taking the basic acoustic guitar and harmonica-based Delta blues, making the harmonica louder with a microphone and an instrument amplifier, and adding electrically amplified guitar, amplified bass guitar, drums,...

 styles. World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 marked the transition from acoustic to electric blues
Electric blues
Electric blues is a type of blues music distinguished by the amplification of the guitar, bass guitar, drums, and often the harmonica. Pioneered in the 1930s, it emerged as a genre in Chicago in the 1940s. It was taken up in many areas of America leading to the development of regional subgenres...

 and the progressive opening of blues music to a wider audience, especially white listeners. In the 1960s and 1970s, a hybrid form called blues-rock
Blues-rock
Blues rock is a hybrid musical genre combining bluesy improvisations over the 12-bar blues and extended boogie jams with rock and roll styles. The core of the blues rock sound is created by the electric guitar, piano, bass guitar and drum kit, with the electric guitar usually amplified through a...

 evolved.

The term "the blues" refers to the "blue devils", meaning melancholy and sadness; an early use of the term in this sense is found in George Colman
George Colman the Younger
George Colman , known as "the Younger", English dramatist and miscellaneous writer, was the son of George Colman "the Elder".-Life:...

's one-act farce Blue Devils (1798). Though the use of the phrase in African-American music may be older, it has been attested to since 1912, when Hart Wand's "Dallas Blues
Dallas Blues
"Dallas Blues", written by Hart Wand, was the first true blues song ever published. "Oh, You Beautiful Doll", a Tin Pan Alley song whose first verse is twelve-bar blues, had been published a year earlier...

" became the first copyrighted blues composition. In lyrics the phrase is often used to describe a depressed mood
Depression (mood)
Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person's thoughts, behaviour, feelings and physical well-being. Depressed people may feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, or restless...

.

Form

The blues form is a cyclic musical form
Cyclic form
Cyclic form is a technique of musical construction, involving multiple sections or movements, in which a theme, melody, or thematic material occurs in more than one movement as a unifying device. Sometimes a theme may occur at the beginning and end Cyclic form is a technique of musical...

 which repeating progression of chords
Chord progression
A chord progression is a series of musical chords, or chord changes that "aims for a definite goal" of establishing a tonality founded on a key, root or tonic chord. In other words, the succession of root relationships...

 mirrors the call and response
Call and response (music)
In music, a call and response is a succession of two distinct phrases usually played by different musicians, where the second phrase is heard as a direct commentary on or response to the first...

 scheme ubiquitous in African and African-American music. During the first decades of the 20th century blues music was not clearly defined in terms of a particular chord progression. With the popularity of early performers, such as Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith was an American blues singer.Sometimes referred to as The Empress of the Blues, Smith was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s...

, use of the twelve-bar blues spread across the music industry during the 1920s and 30s. Other chord progressions, such as 8-bar forms, are still considered blues; examples include "How Long Blues
How Long, How Long Blues
"How Long, How Long Blues" is a traditional eight bar blues song, made famous by Leroy Carr on his 1928 Vocalion Records recording with the guitarist Scrapper Blackwell...

", "Trouble in Mind
Trouble in Mind (song)
"Trouble in Mind" is a slow eight-bar blues song written by jazz pianist Richard M. Jones. The song was recorded in 1924 by singer Thelma La Vizzo with Jones providing the piano accompaniment...

", and Big Bill Broonzy
Big Bill Broonzy
Big Bill Broonzy was a prolific American blues singer, songwriter and guitarist. His career began in the 1920s when he played country blues to mostly black audiences. Through the ‘30s and ‘40s he successfully navigated a transition in style to a more urban blues sound popular with white audiences...

's "Key to the Highway
Key to the Highway
"Key to the Highway" is a blues standard first recorded by blues pianist Charlie Segar in 1940. The song was also recorded by Jazz Gillum and Big Bill Broonzy in 1940–41, and it was later a R&B record chart success for Little Walter in 1958...

". There are also 16-bar blues, as in Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Ray Charles Robinson , known by his shortened stage name Ray Charles, was an American musician. He was a pioneer in the genre of soul music during the 1950s by fusing rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues styles into his early recordings with Atlantic Records...

's instrumental "Sweet 16 Bars" and in Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
Herbert Jeffrey "Herbie" Hancock is an American pianist, bandleader and composer. As part of Miles Davis's "second great quintet," Hancock helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the "post-bop" sound...

's "Watermelon Man". Idiosyncratic numbers of bars are also encountered occasionally, as with the 9-bar progression in "Sitting on Top of the World
Sitting on Top of the World
"Sitting on Top of the World" is a folk-blues song written by Walter Vinson and Lonnie Chatmon, core members of the Mississippi Sheiks, a popular country blues band of the 1930s...

" by Howlin Wolf.
Chords played over a 12-bar scheme: Chords for a blues in C:
EWLINE
I I or IV I I7
IV IV I I7
V V or IV I I or V
EWLINE
C C or F C C7
F F C C7
G G or F C C or G


The basic 12-bar lyric framework of a blues composition is reflected by a standard harmonic progression of 12 bars in a 4/4 time signature
Time signature
The time signature is a notational convention used in Western musical notation to specify how many beats are in each measure and which note value constitutes one beat....

. The blues chords
Chord (music)
A chord in music is any harmonic set of two–three or more notes that is heard as if sounding simultaneously. These need not actually be played together: arpeggios and broken chords may for many practical and theoretical purposes be understood as chords...

 associated to a twelve-bar blues are typically a set of three different chords played over a 12-bar scheme. They are labeled by Roman numbers referring to the degrees
Degree (music)
In music theory, a scale degree or scale step is the name of a particular note of a scale in relation to the tonic...

 of the progression. For instance, for a blues in the key of C, C is the tonic chord (I) and F is the subdominant (IV). The last chord is the dominant (V) turnaround
Turnaround (music)
In jazz, a turnaround is a passage at the end of a section which leads to the next section. This next section is most often the repetition of the previous section or the entire piece or song...

, marking the transition to the beginning of the next progression. The lyrics generally end on the last beat of the tenth bar or the first beat of the 11th bar, and the final two bars are given to the instrumentalist as a break; the harmony of this two-bar break, the turnaround, can be extremely complex, sometimes consisting of single notes that defy analysis in terms of chords.

Much of the time, some or all of these chords are played in the harmonic seventh
Harmonic seventh
The harmonic seventh interval , also known as the septimal minor seventh, or subminor seventh, is one with an exact 7:4 ratio . This is somewhat narrower than and is "sweeter in quality" than an "ordinary" minor seventh, which has a just-intonation ratio of 9:5 , or an equal-temperament ratio of...

 (7th) form. The use of the harmonic seventh interval is characteristic of blues and is popularly called the "blues seven". Blues seven chords add to the harmonic chord a note with a frequency in a 7:4 ratio to the fundamental note. At a 7:4 ratio, it is not close to any interval on the conventional Western diatonic scale
Diatonic scale
In music theory, a diatonic scale is a seven note, octave-repeating musical scale comprising five whole steps and two half steps for each octave, in which the two half steps are separated from each other by either two or three whole steps...

. For convenience or by necessity it is often approximated by a minor seventh
Minor seventh
In classical music from Western culture, a seventh is a musical interval encompassing seven staff positions , and the minor seventh is one of two commonly occurring sevenths. The minor quality specification identifies it as being the smallest of the two: the minor seventh spans ten semitones, the...

 interval or a dominant seventh chord.

In melody
Melody
A melody , also tune, voice, or line, is a linear succession of musical tones which is perceived as a single entity...

, blues is distinguished by the use of the flattened third
Minor third
In classical music from Western culture, a third is a musical interval encompassing three staff positions , and the minor third is one of two commonly occurring thirds. The minor quality specification identifies it as being the smallest of the two: the minor third spans three semitones, the major...

, fifth
Tritone
In classical music from Western culture, the tritone |tone]]) is traditionally defined as a musical interval composed of three whole tones. In a chromatic scale, each whole tone can be further divided into two semitones...

 and seventh
Minor seventh
In classical music from Western culture, a seventh is a musical interval encompassing seven staff positions , and the minor seventh is one of two commonly occurring sevenths. The minor quality specification identifies it as being the smallest of the two: the minor seventh spans ten semitones, the...

 of the associated major scale
Major scale
In music theory, the major scale or Ionian scale is one of the diatonic scales. It is made up of seven distinct notes, plus an eighth which duplicates the first an octave higher. In solfege these notes correspond to the syllables "Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti/Si, ", the "Do" in the parenthesis at...

. These specialized notes are called the blue or bent notes
Blue note
In jazz and blues, a blue note is a note sung or played at a slightly lower pitch than that of the major scale for expressive purposes. Typically the alteration is a semitone or less, but this varies among performers and genres. Country blues, in particular, features wide variations from the...

. These scale tones may replace the natural scale tones, or they may be added to the scale, as in the case of the minor blues scale, in which the flattened third replaces the natural third, the flattened seventh replaces the natural seventh and the flattened fifth is added between the natural fourth and natural fifth. While the 12-bar harmonic progression had been intermittently used for centuries, the revolutionary aspect of blues was the frequent use of the flattened third, flattened seventh, and even flattened fifth in the melody, together with crushing—playing directly adjacent notes at the same time (i.e., diminished second)—and sliding, similar to using grace note
Grace note
A grace note is a kind of music notation used to denote several kinds of musical ornaments. When occurring by itself, a single grace note normally indicates the intention of either an appoggiatura or an acciaccatura...

s. The blue notes allow for key moments of expression during the cadences, melodies, and embellishments of the blues.
Blues shuffles or walking bass reinforce the trance-like rhythm and call-and-response, and they form a repetitive effect called a groove
Groove (popular music)
Groove is the sense of propulsive rhythmic "feel" or sense of "swing" created by the interaction of the music played by a band's rhythm section . Groove is a consideration in genres such as salsa, funk, rock, fusion, and soul...

. Characteristic of the blues since its Afro-American origins, the shuffles played a central role in swing music. The simplest shuffles, which were the clearest signature of the R&B wave that started in the mid 1940s, were a three-note riff
RIFF
The Resource Interchange File Format is a generic file container format for storing data in tagged chunks. It is primarily used to store multimedia such as sound and video, though it may also be used to store any arbitrary data....

 on the bass strings of the guitar. When this riff was played over the bass and the drums, the groove "feel" was created. Shuffle rhythm is often vocalized as "dow, da dow, da dow, da" or "dump, da dump, da dump, da": it consists of uneven, or "swung," eighth notes. On a guitar this may be played as a simple steady bass or it may add to that stepwise quarter note motion from the fifth to the sixth of the chord and back. An example is provided by the following guitar tablature
Tablature
Tablature is a form of musical notation indicating instrument fingering rather than musical pitches....

 for the first four bars of a blues progression in E:

Lyrics

The lyrics of early traditional blues verses probably often consisted of a single line repeated four times; it was only in the first decades of the 20th century that the most common current structure became standard: the so-called AAB pattern, consisting of a line sung over the four first bars, its repetition over the next four, and then a longer concluding line over the last bars. Two of the first published blues songs, "Dallas Blues
Dallas Blues
"Dallas Blues", written by Hart Wand, was the first true blues song ever published. "Oh, You Beautiful Doll", a Tin Pan Alley song whose first verse is twelve-bar blues, had been published a year earlier...

" (1912) and "St. Louis Blues" (1914), were 12-bar blues featuring the AAB structure. W. C. Handy
W. C. Handy
William Christopher Handy was a blues composer and musician. He was widely known as the "Father of the Blues"....

 wrote that he adopted this convention to avoid the monotony of lines repeated three times. The lines are often sung following a pattern closer to a rhythmic talk
Talking blues
Talking blues is a form of country music. It is characterized by rhythmic speech or near-speech where the melody is free, but the rhythm is strict....

 than to a melody. Early blues frequently took the form of a loose narrative. The singer voiced his or her "personal woes in a world of harsh reality: a lost love, the cruelty of police officers, oppression at the hands of white folk, [and] hard times." This melancholy has led to the suggestion of an Igbo
Igbo music
Igbo music is the music of the Igbo people, who are indigenous to the southeastern part of Nigeria. The Igbo traditionally rely heavily on percussion instruments such as the drum and the gong, which are popular because of their innate ability to provide a diverse array of tempo, sound, and...

 origin for blues because of the reputation the Igbo had throughout plantations in the Americas for their melancholic music and outlook to life when they were enslaved.

The lyrics often relate troubles experienced within African American society. For instance Blind Lemon Jefferson
Blind Lemon Jefferson
"Blind" Lemon Jefferson was an American blues singer and guitarist from Texas. He was one of the most popular blues singers of the 1920s, and has been titled "Father of the Texas Blues"....

's "Rising High Water Blues" (1927) tells about the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927
Great Mississippi Flood of 1927
The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 was the most destructive river flood in the history of the United States.-Events:The flood began when heavy rains pounded the central basin of the Mississippi in the summer of 1926. By September, the Mississippi's tributaries in Kansas and Iowa were swollen to...

:
"Backwater rising, Southern peoples can't make no time
I said, backwater rising, Southern peoples can't make no time
And I can't get no hearing from that Memphis girl of mine."


However, although the blues gained an association with misery and oppression, the lyrics could also be humorous and raunchy as well:
"Rebecca, Rebecca, get your big legs off of me,
Rebecca, Rebecca, get your big legs off of me,
It may be sending you baby, but it's worrying the hell out of me."

From Big Joe Turner
Big Joe Turner
Big Joe Turner was an American blues shouter from Kansas City, Missouri. According to the songwriter Doc Pomus, "Rock and roll would have never happened without him." Although he came to his greatest fame in the 1950s with his pioneering rock and roll recordings, particularly "Shake, Rattle and...

's "Rebecca", a compilation of traditional blues lyrics


Hokum
Hokum
Hokum is a particular song type of American blues music - a humorous song which uses extended analogies or euphemistic terms to make sexual innuendos...

 blues celebrated both comedic lyrical content and a boisterous, farcical performance style. Tampa Red
Tampa Red
Tampa Red , born Hudson Woodbridge but known from childhood as Hudson Whittaker, was an American Chicago blues musician....

's classic "Tight Like That" (1928) is a sly wordplay with the double meaning of being "tight" with someone coupled with a more salacious physical familiarity. Explicit contents led to blues sometimes being called dirty blues
Dirty blues
Dirty blues encompasses forms of blues music that deal with topics that are sometimes considered taboo in society, including sexual metaphors and/or references to drug use of some kind. Due to the sometimes graphic subject matter, such music was often banned from radio and only available on a jukebox...

. Lyrical content of music became slightly simpler in post war-blues which focused almost exclusively on relationship woes or sexual worries. Many lyrical themes that frequently appeared in pre-war blues such as economic depression, farming, devils, gambling, magic, floods and dry periods were less common in post-war blues.

Author Ed Morales has claimed that Yoruba mythology
Yoruba mythology
The Yorùbá religion comprises the original religious beliefs and practices of the Yoruba people. Its homeland is in Southwestern Nigeria and the adjoining parts of Benin and Togo, a region that has come to be known as Yorubaland...

 played a part in early blues, citing Robert Johnson's "Cross Road Blues
Cross Road Blues
"Cross Road Blues" is a song by Delta Blues singer Robert Johnson; released on a 78 rpm record in 1936 by Vocalion Records, catalogue 3519. The original version remained out of print after its initial release until the appearance of The Complete Recordings in 1990...

" as a "thinly veiled reference to Eleggua, the orisha
Orisha
An Orisha is a spirit or deity that reflects one of the manifestations of Olodumare in the Yoruba spiritual or religious system....

 in charge of the crossroads". However, the Christian influence was far more obvious. Many seminal blues artists such as Charley Patton or Skip James
Skip James
Nehemiah Curtis "Skip" James was an American Delta blues singer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter, born in Bentonia, Mississippi, died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania....

 had several religious songs or spirituals in their repertoires. Reverend Gary Davis
Reverend Gary Davis
Reverend Gary Davis, also Blind Gary Davis, was an American blues and gospel singer and guitarist, who was also proficient on the banjo and harmonica...

 and Blind Willie Johnson
Blind Willie Johnson
"Blind" Willie Johnson was an American singer and guitarist, whose music straddled the border between blues and spirituals....

 are examples of artists often categorized as blues musicians for their music, although their lyrics clearly belong to the spirituals.

History

Origins

The first publication of blues sheet music was Hart Wand's "Dallas Blues
Dallas Blues
"Dallas Blues", written by Hart Wand, was the first true blues song ever published. "Oh, You Beautiful Doll", a Tin Pan Alley song whose first verse is twelve-bar blues, had been published a year earlier...

" in 1912; W. C. Handy
W. C. Handy
William Christopher Handy was a blues composer and musician. He was widely known as the "Father of the Blues"....

's "The Memphis Blues
The Memphis Blues
"The Memphis Blues" is a song described by its composer, W.C. Handy, as a "Southern Rag." It was self-published by Handy in September, 1912 and has been recorded by many artists over the years.-"Mr. Crump":...

" followed in the same year. The first recording by an African American singer was Mamie Smith
Mamie Smith
-External links:* African American Registry* with photos* with .ram files of her early recordings* NPR special on the selection on "Crazy Blues" to the 2005...

's 1920 rendition of Perry Bradford
Perry Bradford
Perry Bradford was an African American composer, songwriter, and vaudeville performer....

's "Crazy Blues". But the origins of the blues date back to some decades earlier, probably around 1890. They are very poorly documented, due in part to racial discrimination within American society, including academic circles, and to the low literacy rate of the rural African American community at the time. Chroniclers began to report about blues music in Southern Texas and Deep South
Deep South
The Deep South is a descriptive category of the cultural and geographic subregions in the American South. Historically, it is differentiated from the "Upper South" as being the states which were most dependent on plantation type agriculture during the pre-Civil War period...

 at the dawn of the 20th century. In particular, Charles Peabody mentioned the appearance of blues music at Clarksdale, Mississippi
Clarksdale, Mississippi
Clarksdale is a city in Coahoma County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 20,645 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Coahoma County....

 and Gate Thomas reported very similar songs in southern Texas around 1901–1902. These observations coincide more or less with the remembrance of Jelly Roll Morton
Jelly Roll Morton
Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe , known professionally as Jelly Roll Morton, was an American ragtime and early jazz pianist, bandleader and composer....

, who declared having heard blues for the first time in New Orleans in 1902; Ma Rainey
Ma Rainey
Ma Rainey was one of the earliest known American professional blues singers and one of the first generation of such singers to record. She was billed as The Mother of the Blues....

, who remembered her first blues experience the same year in Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

; and W.C. Handy, who first heard the blues in Tutwiler, Mississippi
Tutwiler, Mississippi
Tutwiler is a town in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 1,364 at the 2000 census.-History:In 1899 Tom Tutwiler, a civil engineer for a local railroad, made his headquarters seven miles northeast of Sumner. The town of Tutwiler was founded and named for him...

 in 1903. The first extensive research in the field was performed by Howard W. Odum
Howard W. Odum
Howard Washington Odum was an American sociologist.-Biography:...

, who published a large anthology of folk songs in the counties of Lafayette, Mississippi
Lafayette County, Mississippi
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 38,744 people, 14,373 households, and 8,321 families residing in the county. The population density was 61 people per square mile . There were 16,587 housing units at an average density of 26 per square mile...

 and Newton, Georgia
Newton County, Georgia
Newton County is a county located in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of 2000, the population was 62,001. The 2010 Census showed a population of 99,958. The county seat is Covington....

 between 1905 and 1908. The first non-commercial recordings of blues music, termed "proto-blues" by Paul Oliver
Paul Oliver
-Biography:Oliver was a researcher at the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development , and from 1978-88 was Associate Head of the School of Architecture. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Gloucestershire...

, were made by Odum at the very beginning of the 20th century for research purposes. They are now utterly lost. Other recordings that are still available were made in 1924 by Lawrence Gellert
Lawrence Gellert
Lawrence Gellert, born September 14, 1898 in Budapest, Hungary, died 1979 , was a music collector who in the 1920s and 1930s documented black protest traditions in the South of the United States...

. Later, several recordings were made by Robert W. Gordon
Robert Winslow Gordon
Robert Winslow Gordon was born September 2, 1888 in Bangor, Maine. Educated at Harvard, he joined the English faculty at the University of California at Berkley in 1918. He was the founding head of the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress in 1928, later the Archive of Folk...

, who became head of the Archive of American Folk Songs
Archive of Folk Culture
The Archive of Folk Culture was founded at the U.S. Library of Congress in 1928 as a repository for American folk music. The Archive of Folk Culture became part of the American Folklife Center in 1978...

 of the Library of Congress
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

. Gordon's successor at the Library was John Lomax
John Lomax
John Avery Lomax was an American teacher, a pioneering musicologist and folklorist who did much for the preservation of American folk songs...

. In the 1930s, together with his son Alan
Alan Lomax
Alan Lomax was an American folklorist and ethnomusicologist. He was one of the great field collectors of folk music of the 20th century, recording thousands of songs in the United States, Great Britain, Ireland, the Caribbean, Italy, and Spain.In his later career, Lomax advanced his theories of...

, Lomax made a large number of non-commercial blues recordings that testify to the huge variety of proto-blues styles, such as field holler
Field holler
Field Hollers as well as work songs were African American styles of music from before the American Civil War, this style of music is closely related to spirituals in the sense that it expressed religious feelings and included subtle hints about ways of escaping slavery, among other things...

s and ring shout
Ring shout
A shout or ring shout is an ecstatic, transcendent religious ritual, first practiced by African slaves in the West Indies and the United States, in which worshipers move in a circle while shuffling and stomping their feet and clapping their hands...

s. A record of blues music as it existed before the 1920s is also given by the recordings of artists such as Lead Belly or Henry Thomas
Henry Thomas (blues musician)
Henry Thomas was an American pre-World War II country blues singer, songster and musician. He was often billed as "Ragtime Texas".-Life and career:Thomas was born in Big Sandy, Texas, United States....

 who both performed archaic blues music. All these sources show the existence of many different structures distinct from the twelve-, eight-, or sixteen-bar
16 bar blues
The sixteen-bar blues can be a variation on the standard twelve-bar blues or on the less common eight-bar blues.-Adaptation from twelve-bar progression:Most sixteen bar blues are adapted from a standard twelve-bar progression, i.e.,...

.
The social and economic reasons for the appearance of the blues are not fully known. The first appearance of the blues is often dated after the Emancipation Act of 1863
Emancipation Proclamation
The Emancipation Proclamation is an executive order issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, during the American Civil War using his war powers. It proclaimed the freedom of 3.1 million of the nation's 4 million slaves, and immediately freed 50,000 of them, with nearly...

, between 1870 and 1900, a period that coincides with Emancipation
Abolitionism
Abolitionism is a movement to end slavery.In western Europe and the Americas abolitionism was a movement to end the slave trade and set slaves free. At the behest of Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas who was shocked at the treatment of natives in the New World, Spain enacted the first...

 and, later, the development of juke joint
Juke joint
Juke joint is the vernacular term for an informal establishment featuring music, dancing, gambling, and drinking, primarily operated by African American people in the southeastern United States. The term "juke" is believed to derive from the Gullah word joog, meaning rowdy or disorderly...

s as places where Blacks went to listen to music, dance, or gamble after a hard day's work. This period corresponds to the transition from slavery to sharecropping, small-scale agricultural production, and the expansion of railroads in the southern United States. Several scholars characterize the early 1900s development of blues music as a move from group performances to a more individualized style. They argue that the development of the blues is associated with the newly acquired freedom of the enslaved people. According to Lawrence Levine, "there was a direct relationship between the national ideological emphasis upon the individual, the popularity of Booker T. Washington
Booker T. Washington
Booker Taliaferro Washington was an American educator, author, orator, and political leader. He was the dominant figure in the African-American community in the United States from 1890 to 1915...

's teachings, and the rise of the blues." Levine states that "psychologically, socially, and economically, African-Americans were being acculturated in a way that would have been impossible during slavery, and it is hardly surprising that their secular music reflected this as much as their religious music did."

There are few characteristics common to all blues music, because the genre took its shape from the idiosyncrasies of individual performances. However, there are some characteristics that were present long before the creation of the modern blues. Call-and-response shouts were an early form of blues-like music; they were a "functional expression ... style without accompaniment or harmony and unbounded by the formality of any particular musical structure." A form of this pre-blues was heard in slave ring shout
Ring shout
A shout or ring shout is an ecstatic, transcendent religious ritual, first practiced by African slaves in the West Indies and the United States, in which worshipers move in a circle while shuffling and stomping their feet and clapping their hands...

s and field holler
Field holler
Field Hollers as well as work songs were African American styles of music from before the American Civil War, this style of music is closely related to spirituals in the sense that it expressed religious feelings and included subtle hints about ways of escaping slavery, among other things...

s, expanded into "simple solo songs laden with emotional content".

Blues has evolved from the unaccompanied vocal music and oral traditions of slaves imported from West Africa and rural blacks into a wide variety of styles and subgenres, with regional variations across the United States. Though blues, as it is now known, can be seen as a musical style based on both European harmonic structure
Harmony
In music, harmony is the use of simultaneous pitches , or chords. The study of harmony involves chords and their construction and chord progressions and the principles of connection that govern them. Harmony is often said to refer to the "vertical" aspect of music, as distinguished from melodic...

 and the African call-and-response tradition, transformed into an interplay of voice and guitar, the blues form itself bears no resemblance to the melodic styles of the West African griot
Griot
A griot or jeli is a West African storyteller. The griot delivers history as a poet, praise singer, and wandering musician. The griot is a repository of oral tradition. As such, they are sometimes also called bards...

s, and the influences are faint and tenuous. In particular, no specific African musical form can be identified as the single direct ancestor of the blues. However many blues elements, such as the call-and-response format and the use of blue notes, can be traced back to the music of Africa
Music of Africa
Africa is a vast continent and its regions and nations have distinct musical traditions. The music of North Africa for the most part has a different history from sub-Saharan African music traditions....

. That blue notes pre-date their use in blues and have an African origin is attested by English composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was an English composer who achieved such success that he was once called the "African Mahler".-Early life and education:...

's "A Negro Love Song", from his The African Suite for Piano composed in 1898, which contains blue third
Minor third
In classical music from Western culture, a third is a musical interval encompassing three staff positions , and the minor third is one of two commonly occurring thirds. The minor quality specification identifies it as being the smallest of the two: the minor third spans three semitones, the major...

 and seventh notes
Seventh chord
A seventh chord is a chord consisting of a triad plus a note forming an interval of a seventh above the chord's root. When not otherwise specified, a "seventh chord" usually means a major triad with an added minor seventh...

. The Diddley bow
Diddley bow
The diddley bow is a string instrument of African origin made popular in America, probably developed from instruments found on the Ghana coast of west Africa. The diddley bow is rarely heard outside the rural south...

 (a homemade one-stringed instrument found in parts of the American South in the early twentieth century) and the banjo
Banjo
In the 1830s Sweeney became the first white man to play the banjo on stage. His version of the instrument replaced the gourd with a drum-like sound box and included four full-length strings alongside a short fifth-string. There is no proof, however, that Sweeney invented either innovation. This new...

 are African-derived instruments that may have helped in the transfer of African performance techniques into the early blues instrumental vocabulary. The banjo seems to be directly imported from western African music. It is similar to the musical instrument that griots and other Africans such as the Igbo
Igbo people
Igbo people, also referred to as the Ibo, Ebo, Eboans or Heebo are an ethnic group living chiefly in southeastern Nigeria. They speak Igbo, which includes various Igboid languages and dialects; today, a majority of them speak English alongside Igbo as a result of British colonialism...

 played (called halam
Xalam
Xalam, also spelled khalam, is the Wolof name for a traditional stringed musical instrument from West Africa. The xalam is thought to have originated from modern-day Mali, but some believe that, in antiquity, the instrument may have originated from ancient Egypt...

 or akonting
Akonting
The akonting is the folk lute of the Jola people, found in Senegal, Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau in West Africa...

 by African peoples such as the Wolof
Wolof people
The Wolof are an ethnic group found in Senegal, The Gambia, and Mauritania.In Senegal, the Wolof form an ethnic plurality with about 43.3% of the population are Wolofs...

, Fula
Fula people
Fula people or Fulani or Fulbe are an ethnic group spread over many countries, predominantly in West Africa, but found also in Central Africa and Sudanese North Africa...

 and Mandinka
Mandinka people
The Mandinka, Malinke are one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa with an estimated population of eleven million ....

). However, in the 1920s, when country blues began to be recorded, the use of the banjo in blues music was quite marginal and limited to individuals such as Papa Charlie Jackson
Papa Charlie Jackson
Papa Charlie Jackson was an early American bluesman and songster. He played a hybrid banjo guitar and ukulele, his recording career beginning in 1924...

 and later Gus Cannon
Gus Cannon
Gus Cannon was an American blues musician, who helped to popularize jug bands in the 1920s and 1930s. There is doubt about his birth year; his tombstone gives the date as 1874....

.

Blues music also adopted elements from the "Ethiopian airs", minstrel show
Minstrel show
The minstrel show, or minstrelsy, was an American entertainment consisting of comic skits, variety acts, dancing, and music, performed by white people in blackface or, especially after the Civil War, black people in blackface....

s and Negro spirituals, including instrumental and harmonic accompaniment. The style also was closely related to ragtime
Ragtime
Ragtime is an original musical genre which enjoyed its peak popularity between 1897 and 1918. Its main characteristic trait is its syncopated, or "ragged," rhythm. It began as dance music in the red-light districts of American cities such as St. Louis and New Orleans years before being published...

, which developed at about the same time, though the blues better preserved "the original melodic patterns of African music".
The musical forms and styles that are now considered the "blues" as well as modern "country music
Country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

" arose in the same regions during the 19th century in the southern United States. Recorded blues and country can be found from as far back as the 1920s, when the popular record industry developed and created marketing categories called "race music" and "hillbilly music" to sell music by blacks for blacks and by whites for whites, respectively. At the time, there was no clear musical division between "blues" and "country," except for the ethnicity of the performer, and even that was sometimes documented incorrectly by record companies. Though musicologists can now attempt to define “the blues” narrowly in terms of certain chord structures and lyric strategies thought to have originated in West Africa, audiences originally heard the music in a far more general way: it was simply the music of the rural south, notably the Mississippi Delta. Black and white musicians shared the same repertoire and thought of themselves as “songsters” rather than “blues musicians.” The notion of blues as a separate genre arose during the black migration from the countryside to urban areas in the 1920s and the simultaneous development of the recording industry. “Blues” became a code word for a record designed to sell to black listeners.

The origins of the blues are closely related to the religious music of the Afro-American community, the spirituals
Spiritual (music)
Spirituals are religious songs which were created by enslaved African people in America.-Terminology and origin:...

. The origins of spirituals go back much further than the blues, usually dating back to the middle of the 18th century, when the slaves were Christianized and began to sing and play Christian hymn
Hymn
A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification...

s, in particular those of Isaac Watts
Isaac Watts
Isaac Watts was an English hymnwriter, theologian and logician. A prolific and popular hymnwriter, he was recognised as the "Father of English Hymnody", credited with some 750 hymns...

, which were very popular. Before the blues gained its formal definition in terms of chord progressions, it was defined as the secular counterpart of the spirituals. It was the low-down music played by the rural Blacks. Depending on the religious community a musician belonged to, it was more or less considered as a sin to play this low-down music: blues was the devil's music. Musicians were therefore segregated into two categories: gospel and blues singers, guitar preachers and songsters. However, at the time rural Black music began to get recorded in the 1920s, both categories of musicians used very similar techniques: call-and-response patterns, blue notes, and slide guitars. Gospel music was nevertheless using musical forms that were compatible with Christian hymns and therefore less marked by the blues form than its secular counterpart.

Pre-war blues

The American sheet music
Sheet music
Sheet music is a hand-written or printed form of music notation that uses modern musical symbols; like its analogs—books, pamphlets, etc.—the medium of sheet music typically is paper , although the access to musical notation in recent years includes also presentation on computer screens...

 publishing industry produced a great deal of ragtime
Ragtime
Ragtime is an original musical genre which enjoyed its peak popularity between 1897 and 1918. Its main characteristic trait is its syncopated, or "ragged," rhythm. It began as dance music in the red-light districts of American cities such as St. Louis and New Orleans years before being published...

 music. By 1912, the sheet music industry had published three popular blues-like compositions, precipitating the Tin Pan Alley
Tin Pan Alley
Tin Pan Alley is the name given to the collection of New York City music publishers and songwriters who dominated the popular music of the United States in the late 19th century and early 20th century...

 adoption of blues elements: "Baby Seals' Blues" by "Baby" F. Seals (arranged by Artie Matthews
Artie Matthews
Artie Matthews was a songwriter, pianist, and ragtime composer.Artie Matthews was born in Braidwood, Illinois; his family moved to Springfield, Illinois in his youth. He learned to play piano, mostly popular songs and light classics, until he heard ragtime played by a pianist named Banty Morgan...

), "Dallas Blues" by Hart Wand and "The Memphis Blues
The Memphis Blues
"The Memphis Blues" is a song described by its composer, W.C. Handy, as a "Southern Rag." It was self-published by Handy in September, 1912 and has been recorded by many artists over the years.-"Mr. Crump":...

" by W. C. Handy
W. C. Handy
William Christopher Handy was a blues composer and musician. He was widely known as the "Father of the Blues"....

.
Handy was a formally trained musician, composer and arranger who helped to popularize the blues by transcribing and orchestrating blues in an almost symphonic style, with bands and singers. He became a popular and prolific composer, and billed himself as the "Father of the Blues"; however, his compositions can be described as a fusion of blues with ragtime and jazz, a merger facilitated using the Cuban habanera
Habanera (music)
The habanera is a genre of Cuban popular dance music of the 19th century. It is a creolized form which developed from the contradanza. It has a characteristic "Habanera rhythm", and is performed with sung lyrics...

 rhythm that had long been a part of ragtime; Handy's signature work was the "St. Louis Blues".

In the 1920s, the blues became a major element of African American and American popular music, reaching white audiences via Handy's arrangements and the classic female blues performers. The blues evolved from informal performances in bars to entertainment in theaters. Blues performances were organized by the Theater Owners Bookers Association
Theater Owners Bookers Association
Theater Owners Booking Association, or T.O.B.A., was the vaudeville circuit for African American performers in the 1920s and 1930s. The theaters all had white owners and collaborated in booking jazz, blues, comedians, and other performers for black audiences...

 in nightclub
Nightclub
A nightclub is an entertainment venue which usually operates late into the night...

s such as the Cotton Club
Cotton Club
The Cotton Club was a famous night club in Harlem, New York City that operated during Prohibition that included jazz music. While the club featured many of the greatest African American entertainers of the era, such as Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, Adelaide Hall, Count Basie, Bessie Smith,...

 and juke joint
Juke joint
Juke joint is the vernacular term for an informal establishment featuring music, dancing, gambling, and drinking, primarily operated by African American people in the southeastern United States. The term "juke" is believed to derive from the Gullah word joog, meaning rowdy or disorderly...

s such as the bars along Beale Street
Beale Street
Beale Street is a street in Downtown Memphis, Tennessee, which runs from the Mississippi River to East Street, a distance of approximately . It is a significant location in the city's history, as well as in the history of the blues. Today, the blues clubs and restaurants that line Beale Street are...

 in Memphis. Several record companies, such as the American Record Corporation
American Record Corporation
ARC, the American Record Company, also referred to as American Record Corporation, or as ARC Records, was a United States based record company...

, Okeh Records
Okeh Records
Okeh Records began as an independent record label based in the United States of America in 1918. From 1926 on, it was a subsidiary of Columbia Records.-History:...

, and Paramount Records
Paramount Records
Paramount Records was an American record label, best known for its recordings of African-American jazz and blues in the 1920s and early 1930s, including such artists as Ma Rainey and Blind Lemon Jefferson.-Early years:...

, began to record African American music.

As the recording industry grew, country blues performers like Bo Carter
Bo Carter
Armenter "Bo Carter" Chatmon was an American early blues musician. He was a member of the Mississippi Sheiks in concerts, and on a few of their recordings...

, Jimmie Rodgers (country singer)
Jimmie Rodgers (country singer)
James Charles Rodgers , known as Jimmie Rodgers, was an American country singer in the early 20th century known most widely for his rhythmic yodeling...

, Blind Lemon Jefferson
Blind Lemon Jefferson
"Blind" Lemon Jefferson was an American blues singer and guitarist from Texas. He was one of the most popular blues singers of the 1920s, and has been titled "Father of the Texas Blues"....

, Lonnie Johnson
Lonnie Johnson
Alonzo "Lonnie" Johnson was an American blues and jazz singer/guitarist and songwriter who pioneered the role of jazz guitar and is recognized as the first to play single-string guitar solos...

, Tampa Red
Tampa Red
Tampa Red , born Hudson Woodbridge but known from childhood as Hudson Whittaker, was an American Chicago blues musician....

 and Blind Blake
Blind Blake
"Blind" Blake was an American blues and ragtime singer and guitarist.-Biography:...

 became more popular in the African American community. Kentucky-born Sylvester Weaver
Sylvester Weaver
Sylvester Weaver was an American blues guitar player and pioneer of country blues.-Biography:On October 23, 1923, he recorded in New York City with the blues singer Sara Martin "Longing for Daddy Blues" / "I've Got to Go and Leave My Daddy Behind" and two weeks later as a soloist "Guitar Blues" /...

 was in 1923 the first to record the slide guitar
Slide guitar
Slide guitar or bottleneck guitar is a particular method or technique for playing the guitar. The term slide refers to the motion of the slide against the strings, while bottleneck refers to the original material of choice for such slides: the necks of glass bottles...

 style, in which a guitar is fretted with a knife blade or the sawed-off neck of a bottle. The slide guitar became an important part of the Delta blues
Delta blues
The Delta blues is one of the earliest styles of blues music. It originated in the Mississippi Delta, a region of the United States that stretches from Memphis, Tennessee in the north to Vicksburg, Mississippi in the south, Helena, Arkansas in the west to the Yazoo River on the east. The...

. The first blues recordings from the 1920s are categorized as a traditional, rural country blues
Country blues
Country blues is a general term that refers to all the acoustic, mainly guitar-driven forms of the blues. It often incorporated elements of rural gospel, ragtime, hillbilly, and dixieland jazz...

 and a more polished 'city' or urban blues.

Country blues performers often improvised, either without accompaniment or with only a banjo or guitar. Regional styles of country blues varied widely in the early 20th century. The (Mississippi) Delta blues was a rootsy sparse style with passionate vocals accompanied by slide guitar. The little-recorded Robert Johnson combined elements of urban and rural blues. In addition to Robert Johnson, influential performers of this style included his predecessors Charley Patton and Son House
Son House
Eddie James "Son" House, Jr. was an American blues singer and guitarist. House pioneered an innovative style featuring strong, repetitive rhythms, often played with the aid of slide guitar, and his singing often incorporated elements of southern gospel and spiritual music...

. Singers such as Blind Willie McTell
Blind Willie McTell
Blind Willie McTell , was an influential Piedmont and ragtime blues singer and guitarist. He played with a fluid, syncopated fingerstyle guitar technique, common among many exponents of Piedmont blues, although, unlike his contemporaries, he used exclusively a twelve-string guitar...

 and Blind Boy Fuller
Blind Boy Fuller
Blind Boy Fuller was an American blues guitarist and vocalist. He was one of the most popular of the recorded Piedmont blues artists with rural Black Americans, a group that also included Blind Blake, Josh White, and Buddy Moss.-Life and career:Fulton Allen was born in Wadesboro, North Carolina,...

 performed in the southeastern "delicate and lyrical" Piedmont blues
Piedmont blues
Piedmont blues refers primarily to a guitar style, the Piedmont fingerstyle, which is characterized by a fingerpicking approach in which a regular, alternating thumb bass string rhythmic pattern supports a syncopated melody using the treble strings generally picked with the fore-finger,...

 tradition, which used an elaborate ragtime-based fingerpicking guitar technique. Georgia also had an early slide tradition, with Curley Weaver
Curley Weaver
Curley James Weaver was an American blues musician, also known as Slim Gordon.-Early years:He was born in Covington, Georgia, United States, and raised on a farm near Porterdale...

, Tampa Red
Tampa Red
Tampa Red , born Hudson Woodbridge but known from childhood as Hudson Whittaker, was an American Chicago blues musician....

, "Barbecue Bob" Hicks
Barbecue Bob
Robert Hicks, better known as Barbecue Bob was an early American Piedmont blues musician. His nickname came from the fact that he was a cook in a barbecue restaurant. One of the two extant photographs of Bob show him playing his guitar while wearing a full length white apron and cook's hat.-Early...

 and James "Kokomo" Arnold
Kokomo Arnold
Kokomo Arnold was an American blues musician.Born as James Arnold in Lovejoy's Station, Georgia, he got his nickname in 1934 after releasing "Old Original Kokomo Blues" for the Decca label; it was a cover of the Scrapper Blackwell blues song about the city of Kokomo, Indiana...

 as representatives of this style.

The lively Memphis blues
Memphis blues
The Memphis blues is a style of blues music that was created in the 1920s and 1930s by Memphis-area musicians like Frank Stokes, Sleepy John Estes, Furry Lewis and Memphis Minnie...

 style, which developed in the 1920s and 1930s near Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

, was influenced by jug band
Jug band
A Jug band is a band employing a jug player and a mix of traditional and home-made instruments. These home-made instruments are ordinary objects adapted to or modified for making of sound, like the washtub bass, washboard, spoons, stovepipe and comb & tissue paper...

s such as the Memphis Jug Band
Memphis Jug Band
The Memphis Jug Band was an American musical group in the late 1920s and early to mid 1930s. The band featured harmonicas, violins, mandolins, banjos, and guitars, backed by washboards, kazoo, and jugs blown to supply the bass; they played in a variety of musical styles...

 or the Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers
Gus Cannon
Gus Cannon was an American blues musician, who helped to popularize jug bands in the 1920s and 1930s. There is doubt about his birth year; his tombstone gives the date as 1874....

. Performers such as Frank Stokes, Sleepy John Estes
Sleepy John Estes
John Adam Estes , best known as Sleepy John Estes or Sleepy John, was a American blues guitarist, songwriter and vocalist, born in Ripley, Lauderdale County, Tennessee.-Career:...

, Robert Wilkins
Robert Wilkins
Robert Timothy Wilkins was an American country blues guitarist and vocalist, of African American and Cherokee descent....

, Joe McCoy, Casey Bill Weldon
Casey Bill Weldon
Casey Bill Weldon was an American country blues musician, born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas who later lived and worked in Chicago was known as one of the great early pioneers of the slide guitar. He played upbeat, hokum and country blues tunes, both as a solo artist and as a member of the Memphis Jug...

 and Memphis Minnie
Memphis Minnie
Memphis Minnie was an American blues guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter. She was the only female blues artist considered a match to male contemporaries as both a singer and an instrumentalist.-Career:...

 used a variety of unusual instruments such as washboard
Washboard
A washboard is a tool designed for hand washing clothing. With mechanized cleaning of clothing becoming more common by the end of the 20th century, the washboard has become better known for its originally subsidiary use as a musical instrument....

, fiddle, kazoo
Kazoo
The kazoo is a wind instrument which adds a "buzzing" timbral quality to a player's voice when the player vocalizes into it. The kazoo is a type of mirliton, which is a membranophone, a device which modifies the sound of a person's voice by way of a vibrating membrane."Kazoo" was the name given by...

 or mandolin
Mandolin
A mandolin is a musical instrument in the lute family . It descends from the mandore, a soprano member of the lute family. The mandolin soundboard comes in many shapes—but generally round or teardrop-shaped, sometimes with scrolls or other projections. A mandolin may have f-holes, or a single...

. Memphis Minnie was famous for her virtuoso
Virtuoso
A virtuoso is an individual who possesses outstanding technical ability in the fine arts, at singing or playing a musical instrument. The plural form is either virtuosi or the Anglicisation, virtuosos, and the feminine form sometimes used is virtuosa...

 guitar style. Pianist Memphis Slim
Memphis Slim
Memphis Slim was an American blues pianist, singer, and composer. He led a series of bands that, reflecting the popular appeal of jump blues, included saxophones, bass, drums, and piano. A song he first cut in 1947, "Every Day I Have the Blues", has become a blues standard, recorded by many other...

 began his career in Memphis, but his distinct style was smoother and had some swing elements. Many blues musicians based in Memphis moved to Chicago in the late 1930s or early 1940s and became part of the urban blues movement, which blended country music and electric blues.
City or urban blues styles were more codified and elaborate as a performer was no longer within their local, immediate community and had to adapt to a larger, more varied audience's aesthetic. Classic female urban
Classic female blues
Classic female blues was an early form of blues music, popular in the 1920s. An amalgam of traditional folk blues and urban theater music, the style is also known as vaudeville blues. Classic blues were performed by female vocalists accompanied by pianists or small jazz ensembles, and were the...

 and vaudeville
Vaudeville
Vaudeville was a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s. Each performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill...

 blues singers were popular in the 1920s, among them Mamie Smith
Mamie Smith
-External links:* African American Registry* with photos* with .ram files of her early recordings* NPR special on the selection on "Crazy Blues" to the 2005...

, Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith was an American blues singer.Sometimes referred to as The Empress of the Blues, Smith was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s...

, and Victoria Spivey
Victoria Spivey
Victoria Spivey was an American blues singer and songwriter. She is best known for her recordings of "Dope Head Blues" and "Organ Grinder Blues", and Spivey variously worked with her sister, Addie "Sweet Pease" Spivey, and with Bob Dylan, Lonnie Johnson, Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Clarence...

. Mamie Smith, more a vaudeville performer than a blues artist, was the first African-American to record a blues in 1920; her second record, "Crazy Blues", sold 75,000 copies in its first month. Ma Rainey
Ma Rainey
Ma Rainey was one of the earliest known American professional blues singers and one of the first generation of such singers to record. She was billed as The Mother of the Blues....

, the "Mother of Blues", and Bessie Smith each "[sang] around center tones, perhaps in order to project her voice more easily to the back of a room." Smith would "...sing a song in an unusual key, and her artistry in bending and stretching notes with her beautiful, powerful contralto to accommodate her own interpretation was unsurpassed." Urban male performers included popular black musicians of the era, such Tampa Red
Tampa Red
Tampa Red , born Hudson Woodbridge but known from childhood as Hudson Whittaker, was an American Chicago blues musician....

, Big Bill Broonzy
Big Bill Broonzy
Big Bill Broonzy was a prolific American blues singer, songwriter and guitarist. His career began in the 1920s when he played country blues to mostly black audiences. Through the ‘30s and ‘40s he successfully navigated a transition in style to a more urban blues sound popular with white audiences...

 and Leroy Carr
Leroy Carr
Leroy Carr was an American blues singer, songwriter and pianist, who developed a laid-back, crooning technique and whose popularity and style influenced such artists as Nat King Cole and Ray Charles. He first became famous for "How Long, How Long Blues" on Vocalion Records in 1928.-Life and...

. A important label of this era was the chicagoean Bluebird
Bluebird Records
Bluebird Records is a sub-label of RCA Victor Records originally created in 1932 to counter the American Record Company in the "3 records for a dollar" market. Along with ARC's Perfect Records, Melotone Records and Romeo Records, and the independent US Decca label, Bluebird became one of the best...

 label. Before WWII, Tampa Red was sometimes referred to as "the Guitar Wizard". Carr accompanied himself on the piano with Scrapper Blackwell
Scrapper Blackwell
Francis Hillman "Scrapper" Blackwell was an American blues guitarist and singer; best known as half of the guitar-piano duo he formed with Leroy Carr in the late 1920s and early 1930s, he was an acoustic single-note picker in the Chicago blues and Piedmont blues style, with some critics noting...

 on guitar, a format that continued well into the 50s with people such as Charles Brown
Charles Brown
Charlie Brown is the principal character in the comic strip Peanuts.Charlie or Charles Brown may also refer to:-Athletes:* Charlie Brown from Dumfries who played for home town club Queen of the South...

, and even Nat "King" Cole.

Boogie-woogie
Boogie-woogie (music)
Boogie-woogie is a style of piano-based blues that became popular in the late 1930s and early 1940s, but originated much earlier, and was extended from piano, to three pianos at once, guitar, big band, and country and western music, and even gospel. Whilst the blues traditionally depicts a variety...

 was another important style of 1930s and early 1940s urban blues. While the style is often associated with solo piano, boogie-woogie was also used to accompany singers and, as a solo part, in bands and small combos. Boogie-Woogie style was characterized by a regular bass figure, an ostinato
Ostinato
In music, an ostinato is a motif or phrase, which is persistently repeated in the same musical voice. An ostinato is always a succession of equal sounds, wherein each note always has the same weight or stress. The repeating idea may be a rhythmic pattern, part of a tune, or a complete melody in...

 or riff
RIFF
The Resource Interchange File Format is a generic file container format for storing data in tagged chunks. It is primarily used to store multimedia such as sound and video, though it may also be used to store any arbitrary data....

 and shifts of level in the left hand, elaborating each chord and trills and decorations in the right hand. Boogie-woogie was pioneered by the Chicago-based Jimmy Yancey
Jimmy Yancey
James Edwards "Jimmy" Yancey was an African American boogie-woogie pianist, composer, and lyricist. One reviewer noted him as "one of the pioneers of this raucous, rapid-fire, eight-to-the-bar piano style"....

 and the Boogie-Woogie Trio (Albert Ammons
Albert Ammons
Albert Ammons was an American pianist. Ammons was a player of boogie-woogie, a bluesy jazz style popular from the late 1930s into the mid 1940s.-Life and career:...

, Pete Johnson
Pete Johnson
Pete Johnson was an American boogie-woogie and jazz pianist.Journalist Tony Russell stated in his book The Blues - From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray, that "Johnson shared with the other members of the 'Boogie Woogie Trio' the technical virtuosity and melodic fertility that can make this the most...

 and Meade Lux Lewis
Meade Lux Lewis
Meade Lux Lewis was a American pianist and composer, noted for his work in the boogie-woogie style. His best known work, "Honky Tonk Train Blues", has been recorded in various contexts, often in a big band arrangement...

). Chicago boogie-woogie performers included Clarence "Pine Top" Smith
Pinetop Smith
Clarence Smith, better known as Pinetop Smith or Pine Top Smith was an American boogie-woogie style blues pianist...

 and Earl Hines
Earl Hines
Earl Kenneth Hines, universally known as Earl "Fatha" Hines, was an American jazz pianist. Hines was one of the most influential figures in the development of modern jazz piano and, according to one source, is "one of a small number of pianists whose playing shaped the history of jazz".-Early...

, who "linked the propulsive left-hand rhythms of the ragtime pianists with melodic figures similar to those of Armstrong's trumpet in the right hand." The smooth Louisiana style of Professor Longhair
Professor Longhair
Professor Longhair was a New Orleans blues singer and pianist...

 and, more recently, Dr. John
Dr. John
Malcolm John "Mac" Rebennack, Jr. , better known by the stage name Dr. John , is an American singer-songwriter, pianist and guitarist, whose music combines blues, pop, jazz as well as Zydeco, boogie woogie and rock and roll.Active as a session musician since the late 1950s, he came to wider...

 blends classic rhythm and blues with blues styles.

Another development in this period was big band
Big band
A big band is a type of musical ensemble associated with jazz and the Swing Era typically consisting of rhythm, brass, and woodwind instruments totaling approximately twelve to twenty-five musicians...

 blues. The "territory band
Territory band
Territory bands were dance bands that crisscrossed specific regions of the United States from the 1920s through the 1960s. Beginning in the 1920s, the bands typically had 8 to 12 musicians. These bands typically played one-nighters, 6 or 7 nights a week at venues like VFW halls, Elks Lodges,...

s" operating out of Kansas City
Kansas City Metropolitan Area
The Kansas City Metropolitan Area is a fifteen-county metropolitan area that is anchored by Kansas City, Missouri and is bisected by the border between the states of Missouri and Kansas. As of the 2010 Census, the metropolitan area has a population of 2,035,334. The metropolitan area is the...

, the Bennie Moten
Bennie Moten
Bennie Moten was a noted American jazz pianist and band leader born in Kansas City, Missouri.He led the Kansas City Orchestra, the most important of the itinerant, blues-based orchestras active in the Midwest in the 1920s, and helped to develop the riffing style that would come to define many of...

 orchestra, Jay McShann
Jay McShann
Jay McShann was an American Grammy Award-nominated jump blues, mainstream jazz, and swing bandleader, pianist and singer....

, and the Count Basie Orchestra
Count Basie Orchestra
The Count Basie Orchestra is a 16 to 18 piece big band, one of the most prominent jazz performing groups of the swing era, founded by Count Basie. The band survived the late '40s decline in big band popularity and went on to produce notable collaborations with singers such as Frank Sinatra and Ella...

 were also concentrating on the blues, with 12-bar blues instrumentals such as Basie's "One O'Clock Jump
One O'Clock Jump
"One O'Clock Jump" is a jazz standard, a 12-bar blues instrumental, written in 1937 by Count Basie, with arrangement from Eddie Durham and Buster Smith. The original recording of the tune by Basie and his band is noted for the saxophone work of Herschel Evans and Lester Young; trumpeting by Buck...

" and "Jumpin' at the Woodside" and boisterous "blues shouting
Blues shouter
A blues shouter is a blues singer, often male, capable of singing with a band. The singer must project, or "shout", to be heard over the drums and musical instruments of the band. Blues shouting was a major pathway by which jazz music edged over into rock and roll...

" by Jimmy Rushing
Jimmy Rushing
James Andrew Rushing , known as Jimmy Rushing, was an American blues shouter and swing jazz singer from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States, best known as the featured vocalist of Count Basie's Orchestra from 1935 to 1948.Rushing was known as "Mr...

 on songs such as "Going to Chicago" and "Sent for You Yesterday
Sent for You Yesterday
Sent for You Yesterday is a novel by the American writer John Edgar Wideman set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during the 1970s.The novel tells the story of Albert Wilkes, who after seven years on the run, returns to Homewood, an African American neighborhood of the East End.Sent for You Yesterday is...

". A well-known big band blues tune is Glenn Miller
Glenn Miller
Alton Glenn Miller was an American jazz musician , arranger, composer, and bandleader in the swing era. He was one of the best-selling recording artists from 1939 to 1943, leading one of the best known "Big Bands"...

's "In the Mood
In the Mood
"In the Mood" is a big band era #1 hit recorded by American bandleader Glenn Miller. Joe Garland and Andy Razaf arranged "In the Mood" in 1937-1939 using a previously existing main theme composed by Glenn Miller before the start of the 1930s...

". In the 1940s, the jump blues
Jump blues
Jump blues is an up-tempo blues usually played by small groups and featuring horns. It was very popular in the 1940s, and the movement was a precursor to the arrival of rhythm and blues and rock and roll...

 style developed. Jump blues grew up from the boogie woogie wave and was strongly influenced by big band
Big band
A big band is a type of musical ensemble associated with jazz and the Swing Era typically consisting of rhythm, brass, and woodwind instruments totaling approximately twelve to twenty-five musicians...

 music. It uses saxophone
Saxophone
The saxophone is a conical-bore transposing musical instrument that is a member of the woodwind family. Saxophones are usually made of brass and played with a single-reed mouthpiece similar to that of the clarinet. The saxophone was invented by the Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax in 1846...

 or other brass instrument
Brass instrument
A brass instrument is a musical instrument whose sound is produced by sympathetic vibration of air in a tubular resonator in sympathy with the vibration of the player's lips...

s and the guitar in the rhythm section to create a jazzy, up-tempo sound with declamatory vocals. Jump blues tunes by Louis Jordan
Louis Jordan
Louis Thomas Jordan was a pioneering American jazz, blues and rhythm & blues musician, songwriter and bandleader who enjoyed his greatest popularity from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. Known as "The King of the Jukebox", Jordan was highly popular with both black and white audiences in the...

 and Big Joe Turner
Big Joe Turner
Big Joe Turner was an American blues shouter from Kansas City, Missouri. According to the songwriter Doc Pomus, "Rock and roll would have never happened without him." Although he came to his greatest fame in the 1950s with his pioneering rock and roll recordings, particularly "Shake, Rattle and...

, based in Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

, influenced the development of later styles such as rock and roll
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

 and rhythm and blues
Rhythm and blues
Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated to R&B, is a genre of popular African American music that originated in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a...

. Dallas-born T-Bone Walker
T-Bone Walker
Aaron Thibeaux "T-Bone" Walker was a critically acclaimed American blues guitarist, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who was one of the most influential pioneers and innovators of the jump blues and electric blues sound. He is the first musician recorded playing blues with the...

, who is often associated with the California blues
West Coast blues
The West Coast blues is a type of blues music characterized by jazz and jump blues influences, strong piano-dominated sounds and jazzy guitar solos, which originated from Texas blues players relocated to California in the 1940s...

 style, performed a successful transition from the early urban blues à la Lonnie Johnson
Lonnie Johnson
Alonzo "Lonnie" Johnson was an American blues and jazz singer/guitarist and songwriter who pioneered the role of jazz guitar and is recognized as the first to play single-string guitar solos...

 and Leroy Carr
Leroy Carr
Leroy Carr was an American blues singer, songwriter and pianist, who developed a laid-back, crooning technique and whose popularity and style influenced such artists as Nat King Cole and Ray Charles. He first became famous for "How Long, How Long Blues" on Vocalion Records in 1928.-Life and...

 to the jump blues style and dominated the blues-jazz scene at Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

 during the 1940s.

1950s

The transition from country to urban blues, that began in the 1920s, had always been driven by the successive waves of economic crisis and booms and the associated move of the rural Blacks to urban areas, the Great Migration
Great Migration (African American)
The Great Migration was the movement of 6 million blacks out of the Southern United States to the Northeast, Midwest, and West from 1910 to 1970. Some historians differentiate between a Great Migration , numbering about 1.6 million migrants, and a Second Great Migration , in which 5 million or more...

. The long boom in the aftermath of World War II induced a massive migration of the African American population, the Second Great Migration
Second Great Migration (African American)
The Second Great Migration was the migration of more than 5 million African Americans from the South to the North, Midwest and West. It took place from 1941, through World War II, and lasted until 1970. It was much larger and of a different character than the first Great Migration...

, which was accompanied by a significant increase of the real income of the urban Blacks. The new migrants constituted a new market for the music industry. The name race record
Race record
Race records were 78 rpm phonograph records marketed to African Americans during the early 20th century, particularly during the 1920s and 1930s. They primarily contained race music, comprising a variety of African American musical genres including blues, jazz, and gospel music, though comedy...

 disappeared and was succeeded by Rhythm and Blues
Rhythm and blues
Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated to R&B, is a genre of popular African American music that originated in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a...

. This rapidly evolving market was mirrored by the Billboard
Billboard (magazine)
Billboard is a weekly American magazine devoted to the music industry, and is one of the oldest trade magazines in the world. It maintains several internationally recognized music charts that track the most popular songs and albums in various categories on a weekly basis...

 Rhythm and Blues Chart. This marketing strategy reinforced trends within urban blues music such as the progressive electrification of the instruments, their amplification and the generalization of the blues beat, the blues shuffle, that became ubiquitous in R&B. This commercial stream had important consequences for blues music which, together with Jazz and Gospel music, became a component of the R&B wave.
After World War II and in the 1950s, new styles of electric blues
Electric blues
Electric blues is a type of blues music distinguished by the amplification of the guitar, bass guitar, drums, and often the harmonica. Pioneered in the 1930s, it emerged as a genre in Chicago in the 1940s. It was taken up in many areas of America leading to the development of regional subgenres...

 music became popular in cities such as Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, Memphis
Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

, Detroit
Detroit, Michigan
Detroit is the major city among the primary cultural, financial, and transportation centers in the Metro Detroit area, a region of 5.2 million people. As the seat of Wayne County, the city of Detroit is the largest city in the U.S. state of Michigan and serves as a major port on the Detroit River...

 and St. Louis. Electric blues used electric guitar
Electric guitar
An electric guitar is a guitar that uses the principle of direct electromagnetic induction to convert vibrations of its metal strings into electric audio signals. The signal generated by an electric guitar is too weak to drive a loudspeaker, so it is amplified before sending it to a loudspeaker...

s, double bass
Double bass
The double bass, also called the string bass, upright bass, standup bass or contrabass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra, with strings usually tuned to E1, A1, D2 and G2...

 (slowly replaced by bass guitar
Bass guitar
The bass guitar is a stringed instrument played primarily with the fingers or thumb , or by using a pick....

), drums, and harmonica played through a microphone and a PA system
Public address
A public address system is an electronic amplification system with a mixer, amplifier and loudspeakers, used to reinforce a sound source, e.g., a person giving a speech, a DJ playing prerecorded music, and distributing the sound throughout a venue or building.Simple PA systems are often used in...

 or a guitar amplifier
Guitar amplifier
A guitar amplifier is an electronic amplifier designed to make the signal of an electric or acoustic guitar louder so that it will produce sound through a loudspeaker...

. Chicago became a center for electric blues from 1948 on, when Muddy Waters
Muddy Waters
McKinley Morganfield , known as Muddy Waters, was an American blues musician, generally considered the "father of modern Chicago blues"...

 recorded his first success: "I Can't Be Satisfied". Chicago blues
Chicago blues
The Chicago blues is a form of blues music that developed in Chicago, Illinois, by taking the basic acoustic guitar and harmonica-based Delta blues, making the harmonica louder with a microphone and an instrument amplifier, and adding electrically amplified guitar, amplified bass guitar, drums,...

 is influenced to a large extent by the Mississippi blues
Delta blues
The Delta blues is one of the earliest styles of blues music. It originated in the Mississippi Delta, a region of the United States that stretches from Memphis, Tennessee in the north to Vicksburg, Mississippi in the south, Helena, Arkansas in the west to the Yazoo River on the east. The...

 style, because many performers had migrated from the Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

 region. Howlin' Wolf
Howlin' Wolf
Chester Arthur Burnett , known as Howlin' Wolf, was an influential American blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player....

, Muddy Waters
Muddy Waters
McKinley Morganfield , known as Muddy Waters, was an American blues musician, generally considered the "father of modern Chicago blues"...

, Willie Dixon
Willie Dixon
William James "Willie" Dixon was an American blues musician, vocalist, songwriter, arranger and record producer. A Grammy Award winner who was proficient on both the Upright bass and the guitar, as well as his own singing voice, Dixon is arguably best known as one of the most prolific songwriters...

, and Jimmy Reed
Jimmy Reed
Mathis James "Jimmy" Reed was an American blues musician and songwriter, notable for bringing his distinctive style of blues to mainstream audiences. Reed was a major player in the field of electric blues, as opposed to the more acoustic-based sound of many of his contemporaries...

 were all born in Mississippi and moved to Chicago during the Great Migration
Great Migration (African American)
The Great Migration was the movement of 6 million blacks out of the Southern United States to the Northeast, Midwest, and West from 1910 to 1970. Some historians differentiate between a Great Migration , numbering about 1.6 million migrants, and a Second Great Migration , in which 5 million or more...

. Their style is characterized by the use of electric guitar, sometimes slide guitar, harmonica
Harmonica
The harmonica, also called harp, French harp, blues harp, and mouth organ, is a free reed wind instrument used primarily in blues and American folk music, jazz, country, and rock and roll. It is played by blowing air into it or drawing air out by placing lips over individual holes or multiple holes...

, and a rhythm section of bass and drums. J. T. Brown
J. T. Brown
J. T. Brown was an American tenor saxophonist of the Chicago blues era. He was variously billed as Saxman Brown, J.T. Brown and Bep Brown.-Biography:...

 who played in Elmore James
Elmore James
Elmore James was an American blues guitarist, singer, songwriter and band leader. He was known as "the King of the Slide Guitar" and had a unique guitar style, noted for his use of loud amplification and his stirring voice.-Biography:James was born Elmore Brooks in the old Richland community in...

's bands, or J. B. Lenoir
J. B. Lenoir
J. B. Lenoir /ləˈnɔːr/ was an African American blues guitarist and singer-songwriter, active in the 1950s and 1960s Chicago blues scene....

's also used saxophones, but these were used more as "backing" or rhythmic support than as solo instruments.

Little Walter
Little Walter
Little Walter, born Marion Walter Jacobs , was an American blues harmonica player, whose revolutionary approach to his instrument has earned him comparisons to Charlie Parker and Jimi Hendrix, for innovation and impact on succeeding generations...

 and Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller)
Sonny Boy Williamson II
Willie "Sonny Boy" Williamson was an American blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter, from Mississippi. He is acknowledged as one of the most charismatic and influential blues musicians, with considerable prowess on the harmonica and highly creative songwriting skills...

 are well known harmonica (called "harp" by blues musicians) players of the early Chicago blues scene. Other harp players such as Big Walter Horton
Big Walter Horton
Walter Horton, better known as Big Walter Horton or Walter "Shakey" Horton, was an American blues harmonica player. A quiet, unassuming and essentially shy man, Horton is remembered as one of the premier harmonica players in the history of blues...

 were also influential. Muddy Waters and Elmore James were known for their innovative use of slide electric guitar. Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters were known for their deep, "gravelly" voices.

Bassist and composer Willie Dixon
Willie Dixon
William James "Willie" Dixon was an American blues musician, vocalist, songwriter, arranger and record producer. A Grammy Award winner who was proficient on both the Upright bass and the guitar, as well as his own singing voice, Dixon is arguably best known as one of the most prolific songwriters...

 played a major role on the Chicago blues scene. He composed and wrote many standard blues
Blues standard
A blues standard is a blues song that is widely known, performed, and recorded by blues artists. The following list identifies blues standards and some of the blues artists that have recorded them...

 songs of the period, such as "Hoochie Coochie Man
Hoochie Coochie Man
"Hoochie Coochie Man" is a blues standard written by Willie Dixon and first performed by Muddy Waters in 1954 . The song was a major hit upon its release, reaching #8 on Billboard magazine's Black Singles chart...

", "I Just Want to Make Love to You
I Just Want to Make Love to You
In 1961, Etta James recorded the song for her debut album At Last!. Her rendition also served as the b-side to her hit "At Last." In 1996, Etta James' version became popular in the UK after featuring in a Diet Coke ad campaign. As a result, the single was re-released there...

" (both penned for Muddy Waters) and, "Wang Dang Doodle
Wang Dang Doodle
"Wang Dang Doodle" is a blues song written by Willie Dixon for Howlin' Wolf at Chess Records in Chicago. It has been covered by many artists, including Love Sculpture, Koko Taylor, Z. Z. Hill, Ted Nugent, the Pointer Sisters, PJ Harvey, Grateful Dead, Ratdog, Savoy Brown, Charlie Watts, Booker T....

" and "Back Door Man
Back Door Man
"Back Door Man" is a blues song written by Willie Dixon and recorded by Howlin' Wolf in 1961. It was released by Chess Records as the B-side to Wolf's "Wang Dang Doodle"...

" for Howlin' Wolf. Most artists of the Chicago blues style recorded for the Chicago-based Chess Records
Chess Records
Chess Records was an American record label based in Chicago, Illinois. It specialized in blues, R&B, soul, gospel music, early rock and roll, and occasional jazz releases....

 and Checker Records
Checker Records
Checker Records is an inactive record label that was started in 1952 as a subsidiary to Chess Records in Chicago, Illinois. The label was founded by the Chess brothers, Leonard and Phil, who ran the label until they sold it to General Recorded Tape in 1969, shortly before Leonard's death.The label...

 labels. Smaller blues labels of this era included Vee-Jay Records
Vee-Jay Records
Vee-Jay Records is a record label founded in the 1950s, specializing in blues, jazz, rhythm and blues and rock and roll. It was owned and operated by African Americans.-History:...

 and J.O.B. Records
J.O.B. Records
J.O.B. Records was a Chicago based record label, founded by businessman Joe Brown and bluesman St. Louis Jimmy Oden in 1949. It specialized in Southern Blues and city based R&B. In 1952, the label's recording of "Five Long Years" by Eddie Boyd became a hit and reached number one in the R&B chart....

. During the early 1950s, the dominating Chicago labels were challenged by Sam Phillips
Sam Phillips
Samuel Cornelius Phillips , better known as Sam Phillips, was an American businessman, record executive, record producer and DJ who played an important role in the emergence of rock and roll as the major form of popular music in the 1950s...

' Sun Records
Sun Records
Sun Records is a record label founded in Memphis, Tennessee, starting operations on March 27, 1952.Founded by Sam Phillips, Sun Records was known for giving notable musicians such as Elvis Presley , Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, and Johnny Cash...

 company in Memphis, which recorded B. B. King
B. B. King
Riley B. King , known by the stage name B.B. King, is an American blues guitarist and singer-songwriter.Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at No.3 on its list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. According to Edward M...

 and Howlin' Wolf
Howlin' Wolf
Chester Arthur Burnett , known as Howlin' Wolf, was an influential American blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player....

 before he moved to Chicago in 1960. After Phillips discovered Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley
Elvis Aaron Presley was one of the most popular American singers of the 20th century. A cultural icon, he is widely known by the single name Elvis. He is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King"....

 in 1954, the Sun label turned to the rapidly expanding white audience and started recording mostly rock 'n' roll.

In the 1950s, blues had a huge influence on mainstream American popular music. While popular musicians like Bo Diddley
Bo Diddley
Ellas Otha Bates , known by his stage name Bo Diddley, was an American rhythm and blues vocalist, guitarist, songwriter , and inventor...

 and Chuck Berry
Chuck Berry
Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as "Maybellene" , "Roll Over Beethoven" , "Rock and Roll Music" and "Johnny B...

, both recording for Chess, were influenced by the Chicago blues, their enthusiastic playing styles departed from the melancholy aspects of blues. Chicago blues also influenced Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

's zydeco
Zydeco
Zydeco is a form of uniquely American roots or folk music. It evolved in southwest Louisiana in the early 19th century from forms of "la la" Creole music...

 music, with Clifton Chenier
Clifton Chenier
Clifton Chenier , a Creole French-speaking native of Opelousas, Louisiana, was an eminent performer and recording artist of Zydeco, which arose from Cajun and Creole music, with R&B, jazz, and blues influences. He played the accordion and won a Grammy Award in 1983...

 using blues accents. Zydeco musicians used electric solo guitar and cajun
Cajun
Cajuns are an ethnic group mainly living in the U.S. state of Louisiana, consisting of the descendants of Acadian exiles...

 arrangements of blues standards.

Overseas, in England, electric blues took root there during a much acclaimed Muddy Waters tour. Waters, unsuspecting of his audience's tendency towards skiffle
Skiffle
Skiffle is a type of popular music with jazz, blues, folk, roots and country influences, usually using homemade or improvised instruments. Originating as a term in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century, it became popular again in the UK in the 1950s, where it was mainly...

, an acoustic, softer brand of blues, turned up his amp and started to play his Chicago brand of electric blues. Although the audience was largely jolted by the performance, the performance influenced local musicians such as Alexis Korner
Alexis Korner
Alexis Korner was a blues musician and radio broadcaster, who has sometimes been referred to as "a Founding Father of British Blues"...

 and Cyril Davies
Cyril Davies
Cyril Davies was one of the first British blues harmonica players and blues musician.-Biography:Born at St Mildred's, 15 Hawthorn Drive, Willowbank, Denham, Buckinghamshire, near London, he was the son of William Albert Davies, a labourer, and his wife Margaret Mary...

 to emulate this louder style, inspiring the British invasion
British Invasion
The British Invasion is a term used to describe the large number of rock and roll, beat, rock, and pop performers from the United Kingdom who became popular in the United States during the time period from 1964 through 1966.- Background :...

 of the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds.

In the late 1950s, a new blues style emerged on Chicago's West Side pioneered by Magic Sam
Magic Sam
Samuel "Magic Sam" Gene Maghett was an American Chicago blues musician. Maghett was born in Grenada, Mississippi, United States, and learned to play the blues from listening to records by Muddy Waters and Little Walter...

, Buddy Guy
Buddy Guy
George "Buddy" Guy is an American blues and jazz guitarist and singer. He is a critically acclaimed artist who has established himself as a pioneer of the Chicago blues sound, and has served as an influence to some of the most notable musicians of his generation...

 and Otis Rush
Otis Rush
Otis Rush is a blues musician, singer and guitarist. His distinctive guitar style features a slow burning sound and long bent notes...

 on Cobra Records
Cobra Records
Cobra Records was an independent record label that operated from 1956 to 1959. The label was important for launching the recording careers of Chicago blues artists Otis Rush, Magic Sam, and Buddy Guy and "signaled the arrival of a new generation of [blues] artists and a new sound .....

. The 'West Side Sound' had strong rhythmic support from a rhythm guitar, bass guitar and drums and as pefected by Guy, Freddie King
Freddie King
Freddie King , thought to have been born as Frederick Christian, originally recording as Freddy King, and nicknamed "the Texas Cannonball", was an influential African-American blues guitarist and singer. He is often mentioned as one of "the Three Kings" of electric blues guitar, along with Albert...

, Magic Slim
Magic Slim
Magic Slim is an American blues singer and guitarist.-Biography:Magic Slim was forced to give up playing the piano when he lost his little finger in a cotton gin mishap. He moved first to nearby Grenada. He first came to Chicago in 1955 with his friend and mentor Magic Sam...

 and Luther Allison
Luther Allison
Luther Allison was an American blues guitarist. He was born in Widener, Arkansas and moved with his family, at age twelve, to Chicago in 1951. He taught himself guitar and began listening to blues extensively. Three years later he began hanging outside blues nightclubs with the hopes of being...

 was dominated by amplified electric lead guitar.

Other blues artists, such as John Lee Hooker
John Lee Hooker
John Lee Hooker was an American blues singer-songwriter and guitarist.Hooker began his life as the son of a sharecropper, William Hooker, and rose to prominence performing his own unique style of what was originally closest to Delta blues. He developed a 'talking blues' style that was his trademark...

 had influences not directly related to the Chicago style. John Lee Hooker's blues is more "personal", based on Hooker's deep rough voice accompanied by a single electric guitar. Though not directly influenced by boogie woogie, his "groovy" style is sometimes called "guitar boogie". His first hit, "Boogie Chillen
Boogie Chillen
"Boogie Chillen" is an electric blues song written by John Lee Hooker. It is considered one of the genre's most important and influential recordings for the forthcoming rock 'n' roll.-Origins:...

", reached #1 on the R&B charts in 1949.

By the late 1950s, the swamp blues
Swamp blues
Swamp blues, sometimes the Excello sound, is a sub-genre of blues music and a variation of Louisiana blues that developed around Baton Rouge in the 1950s and which reached a peak of popularity in the 1960s. It generally has a slow tempo and incorporates influences from other genres of music,...

 genre developed near Baton Rouge, with performers such as Lightnin' Slim
Lightnin' Slim
Lightnin' Slim was an African-American Louisiana blues musician, who recorded for Excello Records and played in a style similar to its other Louisiana artists.-Career:...

, Slim Harpo
Slim Harpo
Slim Harpo was an American blues musician. He was known as a master of the blues harmonica; the name "Slim Harpo" was derived from "harp," the popular nickname for the harmonica in blues circles.-Early life:...

, Sam Myers
Sam Myers
Sam Myers was an American blues musician and songwriter. He appeared as an accompanist on dozens of recordings for blues artists over five decades. He began his career as a drummer for Elmore James, but was most famous as a blues vocalist and blues harp player...

 and Jerry McCain
Jerry McCain
Jerry McCain, often billed as Jerry "Boogie" McCain , is an American electric blues musician, best known as a harmonica player. One of five children of a poor family, many of his siblings became involved in music as well, most notably his brother, Walter, who played drums on some early recordings...

 around the producer J. D. "Jay" Miller and the Excello
Excello Records
Excello Records was an American blues record label, started by Ernie Young in Nashville, Tennessee in 1953 as a subsidiary of Nashboro, a gospel label...

 label. Strongly influenced by Jimmy Reed
Jimmy Reed
Mathis James "Jimmy" Reed was an American blues musician and songwriter, notable for bringing his distinctive style of blues to mainstream audiences. Reed was a major player in the field of electric blues, as opposed to the more acoustic-based sound of many of his contemporaries...

, Swamp blues has a slower pace and a simpler use of the harmonica than the Chicago blues style performers such as Little Walter or Muddy Waters. Songs from this genre include "Scratch my Back", "She's Tough" and "I'm a King Bee
I'm a King Bee
"I'm a King Bee" is a swamp blues song that has been performed and recorded by numerous blues and other artists. In 2008, Slim Harpo's "I'm a King Bee" received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award, which "honor[s] recordings of lasting qualitative or historical significance".-Original song:Written and...

". Alan Lomax's recordings of Mississippi Fred McDowell
Mississippi Fred McDowell
Fred McDowell known by his stage name; Mississippi Fred McDowell, was an American Hill country blues singer and guitar player.-Career:...

 would eventually bring him wider attention on both the blues and folk circuit, with McDowell's droning style influencing North Mississippi hill country blues musicians.

1960s and 1970s

By the beginning of the 1960s, genres influenced by African American music
African American music
African-American music is an umbrella term given to a range of musics and musical genres emerging from or influenced by the culture of African Americans, who have long constituted a large and significant ethnic minority of the population of the United States...

 such as rock and roll
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

 and soul
Soul music
Soul music is a music genre originating in the United States combining elements of gospel music and rhythm and blues. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, soul is "music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of...

 were part of mainstream popular music. White performers had brought African-American music to new audiences, both within the US and abroad. However, the blues wave that brought artists such as Muddy Waters to the foreground had stopped. Bluesmen such as Big Bill Broonzy
Big Bill Broonzy
Big Bill Broonzy was a prolific American blues singer, songwriter and guitarist. His career began in the 1920s when he played country blues to mostly black audiences. Through the ‘30s and ‘40s he successfully navigated a transition in style to a more urban blues sound popular with white audiences...

 and Willie Dixon
Willie Dixon
William James "Willie" Dixon was an American blues musician, vocalist, songwriter, arranger and record producer. A Grammy Award winner who was proficient on both the Upright bass and the guitar, as well as his own singing voice, Dixon is arguably best known as one of the most prolific songwriters...

 started looking for new markets in Europe. Dick Waterman
Dick Waterman
Dick Waterman is an American writer, promoter and photographer, who has been influential in the development and recording of the blues since the 1960s.-Life and career:...

 and the blues festivals he organized in Europe played a major role in propagating blues music abroad. In the UK, bands emulated US blues legends, and UK blues-rock-based bands had an influential role throughout the 1960s.

Blues performers such as John Lee Hooker
John Lee Hooker
John Lee Hooker was an American blues singer-songwriter and guitarist.Hooker began his life as the son of a sharecropper, William Hooker, and rose to prominence performing his own unique style of what was originally closest to Delta blues. He developed a 'talking blues' style that was his trademark...

 and Muddy Waters
Muddy Waters
McKinley Morganfield , known as Muddy Waters, was an American blues musician, generally considered the "father of modern Chicago blues"...

 continued to perform to enthusiastic audiences, inspiring new artists steeped in traditional blues, such as New York–born Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal (musician)
Henry Saint Clair Fredericks , who uses the stage name Taj Mahal, is an American Grammy Award winning blues musician. He incorporates elements of world music into his music...

. John Lee Hooker
John Lee Hooker
John Lee Hooker was an American blues singer-songwriter and guitarist.Hooker began his life as the son of a sharecropper, William Hooker, and rose to prominence performing his own unique style of what was originally closest to Delta blues. He developed a 'talking blues' style that was his trademark...

 blended his blues style with rock elements and playing with younger white musicians, creating a musical style that can be heard on the 1971 album Endless Boogie. B. B. King
B. B. King
Riley B. King , known by the stage name B.B. King, is an American blues guitarist and singer-songwriter.Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at No.3 on its list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. According to Edward M...

's virtuoso guitar technique earned him the eponymous title "king of the blues". In contrast to the Chicago style, King's band used strong brass support from a saxophone, trumpet, and trombone, instead of using slide guitar or harp. Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

-born Bobby "Blue" Bland
Bobby Bland
Robert Calvin Bland better known as Bobby "Blue" Bland, is an American singer of blues and soul. He is an original member of the Beale Streeters, and is sometimes referred to as the "Lion of the Blues"...

, like B. B. King, also straddled the blues and R&B genres. During this period, Freddie King and Albert King often played with rock and soul musicians (Eric Clapton, Booker T & the MGs) and had a major influence on those styles of music.

The music of the Civil Rights
African-American Civil Rights Movement (1955-1968)
The African-American Civil Rights Movement refers to the movements in the United States aimed at outlawing racial discrimination against African Americans and restoring voting rights to them. This article covers the phase of the movement between 1955 and 1968, particularly in the South...

 and Free Speech
Free Speech Movement
The Free Speech Movement was a student protest which took place during the 1964–1965 academic year on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley under the informal leadership of students Mario Savio, Brian Turner, Bettina Aptheker, Steve Weissman, Art Goldberg, Jackie Goldberg, and...

 movements in the US prompted a resurgence of interest in American roots music and early African American music
American folk music revival
The American folk music revival was a phenomenon in the United States that began during the 1940s and peaked in popularity in the mid-1960s. Its roots went earlier, and performers like Josh White, Burl Ives, Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, Richard Dyer-Bennett, Oscar Brand, Jean Ritchie, John Jacob...

. As well as Jimmi Bass Music festivals such as the Newport Folk Festival
Newport Folk Festival
The Newport Folk Festival is an American annual folk-oriented music festival in Newport, Rhode Island, which began in 1959 as a counterpart to the previously established Newport Jazz Festival...

 brought traditional blues to a new audience, which helped to revive interest in prewar acoustic blues and performers such as Son House
Son House
Eddie James "Son" House, Jr. was an American blues singer and guitarist. House pioneered an innovative style featuring strong, repetitive rhythms, often played with the aid of slide guitar, and his singing often incorporated elements of southern gospel and spiritual music...

, Mississippi John Hurt
Mississippi John Hurt
John Smith Hurt, better known as Mississippi John Hurt was an American country blues singer and guitarist.Raised in Avalon, Mississippi, Hurt taught himself how to play the guitar around age nine...

, Skip James
Skip James
Nehemiah Curtis "Skip" James was an American Delta blues singer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter, born in Bentonia, Mississippi, died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania....

, and Reverend Gary Davis
Reverend Gary Davis
Reverend Gary Davis, also Blind Gary Davis, was an American blues and gospel singer and guitarist, who was also proficient on the banjo and harmonica...

. Many compilations of classic prewar blues were republished by the Yazoo Records
Yazoo Records
Yazoo Records is an American record label, founded in the late 1960s by Nick Perls. It specializes in early American blues, country, jazz, and other rural American genres ....

. J. B. Lenoir
J. B. Lenoir
J. B. Lenoir /ləˈnɔːr/ was an African American blues guitarist and singer-songwriter, active in the 1950s and 1960s Chicago blues scene....

 from the Chicago blues movement in the 1950s recorded several LPs using acoustic guitar, sometimes accompanied by Willie Dixon
Willie Dixon
William James "Willie" Dixon was an American blues musician, vocalist, songwriter, arranger and record producer. A Grammy Award winner who was proficient on both the Upright bass and the guitar, as well as his own singing voice, Dixon is arguably best known as one of the most prolific songwriters...

 on the acoustic bass or drums. His songs, originally distributed in Europe only, commented on political issues such as racism
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

 or Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 issues, which was unusual for this period. His Alabama Blues recording had a song that stated:


I never will go back to Alabama, that is not the place for me (2x)

You know they killed my sister and my brother,

and the whole world let them peoples go down there free


White audiences' interest in the blues during the 1960s increased due to the Chicago-based Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Paul Butterfield
Paul Butterfield was an American blues vocalist and harmonica player, who founded the Paul Butterfield Blues Band in the early 1960s and performed at the original Woodstock Festival...

 and the British blues
British blues
British blues is a form of music derived from American blues that originated in the late 1950s and which reached its height of mainstream popularity in the 1960s, when it developed a distinctive and influential style dominated by electric guitar and made international stars of several proponents of...

 movement. The style of British blues developed in the UK, when bands such as The Animals
The Animals
The Animals were an English music group of the 1960s formed in Newcastle upon Tyne during the early part of the decade, and later relocated to London...

, Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac are a British–American rock band formed in 1967 in London.The only original member present in the band is its eponymous drummer, Mick Fleetwood...

, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers
John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers
John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers are a pioneering English blues band, led by singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist John Mayall, OBE. Mayall used the band name between 1963 and 1967, but then dropped it for some fifteen years. However, in 1982 a 'Return of the Bluesbreakers' was announced and...

, The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones are an English rock band, formed in London in April 1962 by Brian Jones , Ian Stewart , Mick Jagger , and Keith Richards . Bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts completed the early line-up...

, The Yardbirds
The Yardbirds
- Current :* Chris Dreja - rhythm guitar, backing vocals * Jim McCarty - drums, backing vocals * Ben King - lead guitar * David Smale - bass, backing vocals...

, and Cream
Cream (band)
Cream were a 1960s British rock supergroup consisting of bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce, guitarist/vocalist Eric Clapton, and drummer Ginger Baker...

 and Irish musician Rory Gallagher
Rory Gallagher
William Rory Gallagher, ; 2 March 1948  – 14 June 1995, was an Irish blues-rock multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and bandleader. Born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal, Ireland, and raised in Cork, Gallagher recorded solo albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s, after forming the band Taste...

 performed classic blues songs from the Delta
Delta blues
The Delta blues is one of the earliest styles of blues music. It originated in the Mississippi Delta, a region of the United States that stretches from Memphis, Tennessee in the north to Vicksburg, Mississippi in the south, Helena, Arkansas in the west to the Yazoo River on the east. The...

 or Chicago blues
Chicago blues
The Chicago blues is a form of blues music that developed in Chicago, Illinois, by taking the basic acoustic guitar and harmonica-based Delta blues, making the harmonica louder with a microphone and an instrument amplifier, and adding electrically amplified guitar, amplified bass guitar, drums,...

 traditions. Many of Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin were an English rock band, active in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. Formed in 1968, they consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham...

's earlier hits were renditions of traditional blues songs.

The British and blues musicians of the early 1960s inspired a number of American blues rock fusion performers, including Canned Heat
Canned Heat
Canned Heat is a blues-rock/boogie rock band that formed in Los Angeles, California in 1965. The group has been noted for its own interpretations of blues material as well as for efforts to promote the interest in this type of music and its original artists...

, the early Jefferson Airplane
Jefferson Airplane
Jefferson Airplane was an American rock band formed in San Francisco in 1965. A pioneer of the psychedelic rock movement, Jefferson Airplane was the first band from the San Francisco scene to achieve mainstream commercial and critical success....

, Janis Joplin
Janis Joplin
Janis Lyn Joplin was an American singer, songwriter, painter, dancer and music arranger. She rose to prominence in the late 1960s as the lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company and later as a solo artist with her backing groups, The Kozmic Blues Band and The Full Tilt Boogie Band...

, Johnny Winter
Johnny Winter
John Dawson "Johnny" Winter III is an American blues guitarist, singer, and producer. Best known for his late 1960s and 1970s high-energy blues-rock albums and live performances, Winter also produced three Grammy Award-winning albums for blues legend Muddy Waters...

, The J. Geils Band, Ry Cooder
Ry Cooder
Ryland Peter "Ry" Cooder is an American guitarist, singer and composer. He is known for his slide guitar work, his interest in roots music from the United States, and, more recently, his collaborations with traditional musicians from many countries.His solo work has been eclectic, encompassing...

, and The Allman Brothers Band. One blues rock performer, Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix
James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was an American guitarist and singer-songwriter...

, was a rarity in his field at the time: a black man who played psychedelic rock
Psychedelic rock
Psychedelic rock is a style of rock music that is inspired or influenced by psychedelic culture and attempts to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs. It emerged during the mid 1960s among folk rock and blues rock bands in United States and the United Kingdom...

. Hendrix was a skilled guitarist, and a pioneer in the innovative use of distortion
Distortion
A distortion is the alteration of the original shape of an object, image, sound, waveform or other form of information or representation. Distortion is usually unwanted, and often many methods are employed to minimize it in practice...

 and feedback
Feedback
Feedback describes the situation when output from an event or phenomenon in the past will influence an occurrence or occurrences of the same Feedback describes the situation when output from (or information about the result of) an event or phenomenon in the past will influence an occurrence or...

 in his music. Through these artists and others, blues music influenced the development of rock music
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

.

Santana
Santana (band)
Santana is a rock band based around guitarist Carlos Santana and founded in the late 1960s. It first came to public attention after their performing the song "Soul Sacrifice" at the Woodstock Festival in 1969, when their Latin rock provided a contrast to other acts on the bill...

, which was originally called the Carlos Santana Blues Band, also experimented with Latin-influenced blues and blues-rock music around this time. At the end of the 1950s appeared the very bluesy Tulsa Sound
The Tulsa Sound
The Tulsa Sound is a musical style that originated in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was a mix of Rockabilly, Country, Rock 'n' Roll, and Blues sounds of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Tulsa Sound artists include JJ Cale, Rocky Frisco, Leon Russell, Elvin Bishop, Roger Tillison, Gene Crose, David Gates,...

 merging rock'n'roll, jazz and country influences. This particular music style started to be broadly popularized within the 1970s by J.J. Cale
J.J. Cale
JJ Cale , born John Weldon Cale on December 5, 1938, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is a Grammy Award-winning American singer-songwriter and musician. Cale is one of the originators of the Tulsa Sound, a loose genre drawing on blues, rockabilly, country, and jazz influences. Cale's personal style has...

 and the cover versions performed by Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton
Eric Patrick Clapton, CBE, is an English guitarist and singer-songwriter. Clapton is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist, and separately as a member of The Yardbirds and Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and...

 of "After Midnight" and "Cocaine
Cocaine (song)
"Cocaine" is a song written and recorded by JJ Cale in 1976 and most widely known in a cover version recorded by Eric Clapton. Allmusic calls the latter "among [Clapton's] most enduringly popular hits" and notes that "even for an artist like Clapton with a huge body of high-quality work, 'Cocaine'...

".

In the early 1970s, The Texas rock-blues style
Texas blues
Texas blues is a subgenre of blues. It has had various style variations but typically has been played with more swing than other blues styles....

 emerged, which used guitars in both solo and rhythm roles. In contrast with the West Side blues, the Texas style is strongly influenced by the British rock-blues movement. Major artists of the Texas style are Johnny Winter
Johnny Winter
John Dawson "Johnny" Winter III is an American blues guitarist, singer, and producer. Best known for his late 1960s and 1970s high-energy blues-rock albums and live performances, Winter also produced three Grammy Award-winning albums for blues legend Muddy Waters...

, Stevie Ray Vaughan
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Stephen Ray "Stevie Ray" Vaughan was an American electric blues guitarist and singer. He was the younger brother of Jimmie Vaughan and frontman for Double Trouble, a band that included bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton. Born in Dallas, Vaughan moved to Austin at the age of 17 and...

, The Fabulous Thunderbirds
The Fabulous Thunderbirds
The Fabulous Thunderbirds are an American, Grammy-nominated Blues rock band, formed in 1974.-Career:After performing for several years in the Austin, Texas blues scene, the band won a recording contract with Takoma/Chrysalis Records, and later on signed with Epic Records.Their first two albums,...

, and ZZ Top
ZZ Top
ZZ Top is an American rock band, sometimes referred to as "That Little Ol' Band from Texas". Their style, which is rooted in blues-based boogie rock, has come to incorporate elements of arena, southern, and boogie rock. The band, from Houston Texas, formed in 1969...

. These artists all began their musical journey in the 1970s, but they did not achieve major international success until the next decade.

1980s to the 2000s

Since the 1980s, there has been a resurgence of interest in the blues among a certain part of the African-American population, particularly around Jackson, Mississippi
Jackson, Mississippi
Jackson is the capital and the most populous city of the US state of Mississippi. It is one of two county seats of Hinds County ,. The population of the city declined from 184,256 at the 2000 census to 173,514 at the 2010 census...

 and other deep South
Deep South
The Deep South is a descriptive category of the cultural and geographic subregions in the American South. Historically, it is differentiated from the "Upper South" as being the states which were most dependent on plantation type agriculture during the pre-Civil War period...

 regions. Often termed "soul blues
Soul blues
Soul blues is a style of blues music developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s that combines elements of soul music and urban contemporary music...

" or "Southern soul
Southern soul
Southern soul is a type of soul music that emerged from the Southern United States. The music originated from a combination of styles, including blues , country, early rock and roll, and a strong gospel influence that emanated from the sounds of Southern African-American churches. The focus of the...

", the music at the heart of this movement was given new life by the unexpected success of two particular recordings on the Jackson-based Malaco
Malaco Records
Malaco Records is an independent record label based in Jackson, Mississippi. Malaco is and has been the home of various major soul, blues and gospel acts, such as Johnnie Taylor, Bobby Bland, ZZ Hill, Denise LaSalle, Benny Latimore, Dorothy Moore, Little Milton, Shirley Brown, Marvin Sease, and the...

 label: Z. Z. Hill's Down Home Blues (1982) and Little Milton
Little Milton
James Milton Campbell, Jr. , better known as Little Milton, was an American electric blues, rhythm and blues, and soul singer and guitarist, best known for his hit records "Grits Ain't Groceries" and "We're Gonna Make It."-Biography:Milton was born James Milton Campbell, Jr., in the Mississippi...

's The Blues is Alright (1984). Contemporary African-American performers who work this vein of the blues include Bobby Rush
Bobby Rush (musician)
Bobby Rush is an American blues and R&B musician, composer and singer. His style incorporates elements of soul blues, rap and funk.-Biography:...

, Denise LaSalle
Denise LaSalle
Denise LaSalle is an American R&B/soul and blues singer, songwriter, and record producer.-Career:...

, Sir Charles Jones
Sir Charles Jones
Sir Charles Jones is an American singer associated with the Southern soul and contemporary blues.-Biography:Jones was born in Akron, Ohio. When he was young, his family moved to Birmingham, Alabama, where he was raised. It was in Birmingham where his singing career started.Jones taught himself...

, Bettye LaVette
Bettye LaVette
Bettye LaVette is an American soul singer-songwriter who made her first record at sixteen, but achieved only intermittent fame until 2005, with her album, I've Got My Own Hell to Raise...

, Marvin Sease
Marvin Sease
Marvin Sease aka "The Candy Licker" was an American blues and soul Singer/Songwriter known for his racy lyrics....

 and Peggy Scott-Adams
Peggy Scott-Adams
Peggy Scott-Adams is an African-American soul and R&B singer. She is sometimes known by her former name as Peggy Scott, and billed as 'The Little Lady with the Big Voice'....

.

During the 1980s, blues also continued in both traditional and new forms. In 1986, the album Strong Persuader
Strong Persuader
Strong Persuader is American blues guitarist Robert Cray's fifth studio album, released in 1986, and became his breakthrough album to the mainstream. "Strong Persuader" also became a nickname for Cray...

revealed Robert Cray
Robert Cray
Robert Cray is an American blues guitarist and singer. A five-time Grammy Award winner, he has led his own band, as well as an acclaimed solo career.-Career:...

 as a major blues artist. The first Stevie Ray Vaughan
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Stephen Ray "Stevie Ray" Vaughan was an American electric blues guitarist and singer. He was the younger brother of Jimmie Vaughan and frontman for Double Trouble, a band that included bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton. Born in Dallas, Vaughan moved to Austin at the age of 17 and...

 recording, Texas Flood
Texas Flood
Texas Flood was released on June 13, 1983, with two singles released from the album—"Pride and Joy" and "Love Struck Baby". "Pride and Joy" peaked at #20 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. "Texas Flood" was nominated for Best Traditional Blues Performance and "Rude Mood" was nominated for Best...

, was released in 1983, and the Texas-based guitarist exploded onto the international stage. 1989 saw a revival of John Lee Hooker
John Lee Hooker
John Lee Hooker was an American blues singer-songwriter and guitarist.Hooker began his life as the son of a sharecropper, William Hooker, and rose to prominence performing his own unique style of what was originally closest to Delta blues. He developed a 'talking blues' style that was his trademark...

's popularity with the album The Healer
The Healer (album)
The Healer is a blues album by John Lee Hooker, released in 1989. The album features collaborations with Bonnie Raitt, Charlie Musselwhite, Los Lobos and Carlos Santana, among others. The Healer peaked at number 62 on the Billboard 200 and won a Grammy award.-Track listing:All songs were written by...

. Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton
Eric Patrick Clapton, CBE, is an English guitarist and singer-songwriter. Clapton is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist, and separately as a member of The Yardbirds and Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and...

, known for his performances with the Blues Breakers
John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers
John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers are a pioneering English blues band, led by singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist John Mayall, OBE. Mayall used the band name between 1963 and 1967, but then dropped it for some fifteen years. However, in 1982 a 'Return of the Bluesbreakers' was announced and...

 and Cream
Cream (band)
Cream were a 1960s British rock supergroup consisting of bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce, guitarist/vocalist Eric Clapton, and drummer Ginger Baker...

, made a comeback in the 1990s with his album Unplugged
Unplugged (Eric Clapton album)
Unplugged is a live album by Eric Clapton released in 1992. It was recorded live in England for the MTV Unplugged series and includes both the hit single "Tears in Heaven" and a heavily reworked acoustic version of "Layla"....

, in which he played some standard blues numbers on acoustic guitar. However, beginning in the 1990s, digital multitrack recording
Digital recording
In digital recording, digital audio and digital video is directly recorded to a storage device as a stream of discrete numbers, representing the changes in air pressure for audio and chroma and luminance values for video through time, thus making an abstract template for the original sound or...

 and other technological advances and new marketing strategies that include video clip
Video clip
Video clips are short clips of video, usually part of a longer recording. The term is also more loosely used to mean any short video less than the length of a traditional television program.- On the Internet :...

 production have increased costs, and challenge the spontaneity and improvisation that are an important component of blues music.

In the 1980s and 1990s, blues publications such as Living Blues
Living Blues
Living Blues is a bi-monthly magazine focused on covering the African American blues tradition, and America's oldest blues periodical. The magazine was founded as a quarterly in Chicago in 1970 by Jim O'Neal and Amy van Singel. Alligator Records owner and founder Bruce Iglauer was also one of the...

and Blues Revue began to be distributed, major cities began forming blues societies, outdoor blues festivals became more common, and more nightclub
Nightclub
A nightclub is an entertainment venue which usually operates late into the night...

s and venues for blues emerged.

In the 1990s, largely ignored hill country blues
Hill country blues
Hill country blues is a regional offshoot of country blues style characterized by few chord changes, unconventional song structures, and an emphasis on the "groove" or a steady, driving rhythm...

 gained minor recognition in both blues and alternative rock
Alternative rock
Alternative rock is a genre of rock music and a term used to describe a diverse musical movement that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1980s and became widely popular by the 1990s...

 music circles with North Mississippi artists R. L. Burnside
R. L. Burnside
Not to be confused with R. H. Burnside, stage director.R. L. Burnside , born Robert Lee Burnside, was an American blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist who lived much of his life in and around Holly Springs, Mississippi. He played music for much of his life, but did not receive much attention...

 and Junior Kimbrough
Junior Kimbrough
David "Junior" Kimbrough was an American blues musician. His best known work included "Keep Your Hands Off Her" and "All Night Long". Music journalist Tony Russell stated "his raw, repetitive style suggests an archaic forebear of John Lee Hooker, a character his music shares with that of fellow...

. Blues performers explored a range of musical genres, as can be seen, for example, from the broad array of nominees of the yearly Blues Music Awards, previously named W. C. Handy Awards or of the Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary
Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album
The Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album was awarded from 1988 to 2011. From 2001 to 2003 the award recipients included the producers and engineers as well as the artists...

 and Traditional Blues Album
Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album
The Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album was awarded from 1983 to 2011. From 2001 to 2003 the award recipients included the producers and engineers as well as the artists...

. The Bilboard Blues Album chart monitors and therefore provides an overview over the current blues production. Contemporary blues music is nurtured by several blues labels such as: Alligator Records
Alligator Records
Alligator Records is a Chicago-based independent blues record label founded by Bruce Iglauer in 1971.Iglauer started the label with his own savings to record and produce his favorite band Hound Dog Taylor & The HouseRockers, whom his employer, Bob Koester of Delmark Records, declined to record...

, Ruf Records
Ruf Records
The motto of the blues label is "Where Blues Crosses Over". The company's office is located in Lindewerra, Germany. As of 2008 Ruf has produced 120 releases, sold over 1 million albums, received two Grammy nominations and ten Blues Music Award nominations....

, Severn Records
Severn Records
Severn Records is an American independent record label that concentrates on blues music. Since its founding in 1998, Severn has issued more than 50 albums. Its motto is "Roots Music for the 21st Century".-History:...

, Chess Records
Chess Records
Chess Records was an American record label based in Chicago, Illinois. It specialized in blues, R&B, soul, gospel music, early rock and roll, and occasional jazz releases....

 (MCA
Music Corporation of America
MCA, Inc. was an American talent agency. Initially starting in the music business, they would next become a dominant force in the film business, and later expanded into the television business...

), Delmark Records
Delmark Records
Delmark Records is an independent American jazz and blues record label, based in Chicago since 1958. The label originated in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1953 when owner Bob Koester released a recording of the Windy City Six, a traditional jazz group, under the "Delmar" imprint.-History:Born in 1932 in...

, NorthernBlues Music
NorthernBlues Music
NorthernBlues Music is a Canadian independent record label, which specializes in blues music. The label was established in 2001, and a number of its artists and albums have since been nominated for and won Blues Music Awards...

, Fat Possum Records
Fat Possum Records
Fat Possum Records is an American independent record label based in Oxford, Mississippi. At first Fat Possum focused almost entirely on recording hitherto unknown Mississippi blues artists . Recently, Fat Possum has signed younger rock acts to its roster...

 and Vanguard Records
Vanguard Records
Vanguard Records is a record label set up in 1950 by brothers Maynard and Seymour Solomon in New York. It started as a classical label, but is perhaps best known for its catalogue of recordings by a number of pivotal folk and blues artists from the 1960s; the Bach Guild was a subsidiary...

 (Artemis Records). Some labels are famous for their rediscovering and remastering of blues rarities such as Arhoolie Records
Arhoolie Records
Arhoolie Records is a small record label run by Chris Strachwitz. The label was founded by Strachwitz in 1960 as a way for him to record and publish previously obscure "down home blues" artists such as Lightnin' Hopkins, Snooks Eaglin and Bill Gaither...

, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (heir of Folkways Records
Folkways Records
Folkways Records was a record label founded by Moses Asch that documented folk, world, and children's music. It was acquired by the Smithsonian Institution in 1987, and is now part of Smithsonian Folkways.-History:...

) and Yazoo Records
Yazoo Records
Yazoo Records is an American record label, founded in the late 1960s by Nick Perls. It specializes in early American blues, country, jazz, and other rural American genres ....

 (Shanachie Records
Shanachie Records
Shanachie Records was founded in 1976 by Richard Nevins and Dan Collins. According to Harvey Pekar , it is one of the largest independent record labels in the world, and is currently distributed by E1 Music. Starting as a label that specialized in fiddle music, they began releasing work by Celtic...

).

Musical impact

Blues musical styles, forms (12-bar blues), melodies, and the blues scale have influenced many other genres of music, such as rock and roll, jazz, and popular music. Prominent jazz, folk or rock performers, such as Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong , nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, was an American jazz trumpeter and singer from New Orleans, Louisiana....

, Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and big band leader. Ellington wrote over 1,000 compositions...

, Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Dewey Davis III was an American jazz musician, trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Miles Davis was, with his musical groups, at the forefront of several major developments in jazz music, including bebop, cool jazz,...

, and Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

 have performed significant blues recordings. The blues scale is often used in popular songs like Harold Arlen
Harold Arlen
Harold Arlen was an American composer of popular music, having written over 500 songs, a number of which have become known the world over. In addition to composing the songs for The Wizard of Oz, including the classic 1938 song, "Over the Rainbow,” Arlen is a highly regarded contributor to the...

's "Blues in the Night", blues ballad
Blues ballad
The term blues ballad is used to refer to a specific form of popular music which fused Anglo-American and Afro-American styles from the late 19th century onwards...

s like "Since I Fell for You" and "Please Send Me Someone to Love", and even in orchestral works such as George Gershwin
George Gershwin
George Gershwin was an American composer and pianist. Gershwin's compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, and his most popular melodies are widely known...

's "Rhapsody in Blue
Rhapsody in Blue
Rhapsody in Blue is a musical composition by George Gershwin for solo piano and jazz band written in 1924, which combines elements of classical music with jazz-influenced effects....

" and "Concerto in F". Gershwin's second "Prelude" for solo piano is an interesting example of a classical blues, maintaining the form with academic strictness. The blues scale is ubiquitous in modern popular music and informs many modal frame
Modal frame
In music a melodic mode or modal frame is one of, "a number of types permeating and unifying African, European, and American song" and melody. "Mode" and "frame" are used in this context interchangeably. Melodic modes allow melodies which are not chord-based or determined by the harmony but...

s, especially the ladder of thirds
Ladder of thirds
A ladder of thirds is similar to the circle of fifths, though a ladder of thirds differs in being composed of thirds, major or minor, and may or may not circle back to its starting note and thus may or may not be an interval cycle.Triadic chords may be considered as part of a ladder of thirds.It...

 used in rock music (for example, in "A Hard Day's Night
A Hard Day's Night (song)
"A Hard Day's Night" is a song by the English rock band The Beatles. Written by John Lennon, and credited to Lennon–McCartney, it was released on the movie soundtrack of the same name in 1964...

"). Blues forms are used in the theme to the televised Batman
Batman (TV series)
Batman is an American television series, based on the DC comic book character of the same name. It stars Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin — two crime-fighting heroes who defend Gotham City. It aired on the American Broadcasting Company network for three seasons from January 12, 1966 to...

, teen idol
Teen idol
A teen idol is a celebrity who is widely idolized by teenagers; he or she is often young but not necessarily teenaged. Often teen idols are actors or pop singers, but some sports figures have an appeal to teenagers. Some teen idols began their careers as child actors...

 Fabian's
Fabian (entertainer)
Fabiano Anthony Forte , known as Fabian, is an American teen idol of the late 1950s and early 1960s. He rose to national prominence after performing several times on American Bandstand. Eleven of his songs reached the Billboard Hot 100 listing.-Early life:Fabian was the son of Josephine and Domenic...

 hit, "Turn Me Loose", country music
Country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

 star Jimmie Rodgers
Jimmie Rodgers (country singer)
James Charles Rodgers , known as Jimmie Rodgers, was an American country singer in the early 20th century known most widely for his rhythmic yodeling...

' music, and guitarist/vocalist Tracy Chapman
Tracy Chapman
Tracy Chapman is an American singer-songwriter, best known for her singles "Fast Car", "Talkin' 'bout a Revolution", "Baby Can I Hold You", "Give Me One Reason" and "Telling Stories". She is a multi-platinum and four-time Grammy Award-winning artist.-Biography:Tracy Chapman was born in Cleveland,...

's hit "Give Me One Reason".

R&B music can be traced back to spirituals
Spiritual (music)
Spirituals are religious songs which were created by enslaved African people in America.-Terminology and origin:...

 and blues. Musically, spirituals were a descendant of New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 choral traditions, and in particular of Isaac Watts
Isaac Watts
Isaac Watts was an English hymnwriter, theologian and logician. A prolific and popular hymnwriter, he was recognised as the "Father of English Hymnody", credited with some 750 hymns...

's hymn
Hymn
A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification...

s, mixed with African rhythms and call-and-response forms. Spirituals or religious chants in the African-American community are much better documented than the "low-down" blues. Spiritual singing developed because African-American communities could gather for mass or worship gatherings, which were called camp meeting
Camp meeting
The camp meeting is a form of Protestant Christian religious service originating in Britain and once common in some parts of the United States, wherein people would travel from a large area to a particular site to camp out, listen to itinerant preachers, and pray...

s.

Early country bluesmen such as Skip James
Skip James
Nehemiah Curtis "Skip" James was an American Delta blues singer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter, born in Bentonia, Mississippi, died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania....

, Charley Patton, Georgia Tom Dorsey played country and urban blues and had influences from spiritual singing. Dorsey helped to popularize Gospel music
Gospel music
Gospel music is music that is written to express either personal, spiritual or a communal belief regarding Christian life, as well as to give a Christian alternative to mainstream secular music....

. Gospel music developed in the 1930s, with the Golden Gate Quartet. In the 1950s, soul music
Soul music
Soul music is a music genre originating in the United States combining elements of gospel music and rhythm and blues. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, soul is "music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of...

 by Sam Cooke
Sam Cooke
Samuel Cook, , better known under the stage name Sam Cooke, was an American gospel, R&B, soul, and pop singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur. He is considered to be one of the pioneers and founders of soul music. He is commonly known as the King of Soul for his distinctive vocal abilities and...

, Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Ray Charles Robinson , known by his shortened stage name Ray Charles, was an American musician. He was a pioneer in the genre of soul music during the 1950s by fusing rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues styles into his early recordings with Atlantic Records...

 and James Brown
James Brown
James Joseph Brown was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and recording artist. He is the originator of Funk and is recognized as a major figure in the 20th century popular music for both his vocals and dancing. He has been referred to as "The Godfather of Soul," "Mr...

 used gospel and blues music elements. In the 1960s and 1970s, gospel and blues were these merged in soul blues
Soul blues
Soul blues is a style of blues music developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s that combines elements of soul music and urban contemporary music...

 music. Funk
Funk
Funk is a music genre that originated in the mid-late 1960s when African American musicians blended soul music, jazz and R&B into a rhythmic, danceable new form of music. Funk de-emphasizes melody and harmony and brings a strong rhythmic groove of electric bass and drums to the foreground...

 music of the 1970s was influenced by soul; funk can be seen as an antecedent of hip-hop and contemporary R&B.

Before World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the boundaries between blues and jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 were less clear. Usually jazz had harmonic structures stemming from brass band
Brass band
A brass band is a musical ensemble generally consisting entirely of brass instruments, most often with a percussion section. Ensembles that include brass and woodwind instruments can in certain traditions also be termed brass bands , but are usually more correctly termed military bands, concert...

s, whereas blues had blues forms such as the 12-bar blues. However, the jump blues of the 1940s mixed both styles. After WWII, blues had a substantial influence on jazz. Bebop
Bebop
Bebop differed drastically from the straightforward compositions of the swing era, and was instead characterized by fast tempos, asymmetrical phrasing, intricate melodies, and rhythm sections that expanded on their role as tempo-keepers...

 classics, such as Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Charles Parker, Jr. , famously called Bird or Yardbird, was an American jazz saxophonist and composer....

's "Now's the Time", used the blues form with the pentatonic scale and blue notes.
Bebop marked a major shift in the role of jazz, from a popular style of music for dancing, to a "high-art," less-accessible, cerebral "musician's music". The audience for both blues and jazz split, and the border between blues and jazz became more defined.

The blues' 12-bar structure and the blues scale was a major influence on rock and roll
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

 music. Rock and roll has been called "blues with a backbeat"; Carl Perkins
Carl Perkins
Carl Lee Perkins was an American rockabilly musician who recorded most notably at Sun Records Studio in Memphis, Tennessee, beginning during 1954...

 called rockabilly
Rockabilly
Rockabilly is one of the earliest styles of rock and roll music, dating to the early 1950s.The term rockabilly is a portmanteau of rock and hillbilly, the latter a reference to the country music that contributed strongly to the style's development...

 "blues with a country
Country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

 beat". Rockabillies were also said to be 12-bar blues played with a bluegrass
Bluegrass music
Bluegrass music is a form of American roots music, and a sub-genre of country music. It has mixed roots in Scottish, English, Welsh and Irish traditional music...

 beat. "Hound Dog
Hound Dog (song)
"Hound Dog" is a twelve-bar blues written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and originally recorded by Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton in 1952. Other early versions illustrate the differences among blues, country, and rock and roll in the mid-1950s. The 1956 remake by Elvis Presley is the best-known...

", with its unmodified 12-bar structure (in both harmony and lyrics) and a melody centered on flatted third of the tonic (and flatted seventh of the subdominant), is a blues song transformed into a rock and roll song. Jerry Lee Lewis
Jerry Lee Lewis
Jerry Lee Lewis is an American rock and roll and country music singer-songwriter and pianist. An early pioneer of rock and roll music, Lewis's career faltered after he married his young cousin, and he afterwards made a career extension to country and western music. He is known by the nickname 'The...

's style of rock and roll was heavily influenced by the blues and its derivative boogie woogie. His style of music was not exactly rockabilly but it has been often called real rock and roll (this is a label he shares with several African American rock and roll performers).

Early country music
Country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

 was infused with the blues. Jimmie Rodgers
Jimmie Rodgers (country singer)
James Charles Rodgers , known as Jimmie Rodgers, was an American country singer in the early 20th century known most widely for his rhythmic yodeling...

, Moon Mullican
Moon Mullican
Aubrey Wilson Mullican , known as Moon Mullican, was an American country and western singer, songwriter, and pianist. However, he also sang and played jazz, rock 'n' roll and the blues...

, Bob Wills
Bob Wills
James Robert Wills , better known as Bob Wills, was an American Western Swing musician, songwriter, and bandleader, considered by music authorities as the co-founder of Western Swing and universally known as the pioneering King of Western Swing.Bob Wills' name will forever be associated with...

, Bill Monroe
Bill Monroe
William Smith Monroe was an American musician who created the style of music known as bluegrass, which takes its name from his band, the "Blue Grass Boys," named for Monroe's home state of Kentucky. Monroe's performing career spanned 60 years as a singer, instrumentalist, composer and bandleader...

 and Hank Williams have all described themselves as blues singers and their music has a blues feel that is different to the country pop of Eddy Arnold
Eddy Arnold
Richard Edward Arnold , known professionally as Eddy Arnold, was an American country music singer who performed for six decades. He was a so-called Nashville sound innovator of the late 1950s, and scored 147 songs on the Billboard country music charts, second only to George Jones. He sold more...

. A lot of the 1970s-era "outlaw" country music by Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson
Willie Hugh Nelson is an American country music singer-songwriter, as well as an author, poet, actor, and activist. The critical success of the album Shotgun Willie , combined with the critical and commercial success of Red Headed Stranger and Stardust , made Nelson one of the most recognized...

 and Waylon Jennings
Waylon Jennings
Waylon Arnold Jennings was an American country music singer, songwriter, and musician. Jennings began playing at eight. He began performing at twelve, on KVOW radio. Jennings formed a band The Texas Longhorns. Jennings worked as a D.J on KVOW, KDAV and KLLL...

 also borrowed from the blues. When Jerry Lee Lewis
Jerry Lee Lewis
Jerry Lee Lewis is an American rock and roll and country music singer-songwriter and pianist. An early pioneer of rock and roll music, Lewis's career faltered after he married his young cousin, and he afterwards made a career extension to country and western music. He is known by the nickname 'The...

 returned to country after the decline of 1950s style rock and roll, he sang his country with a blues feel and often included blues standards on his albums. Many early rock and roll songs are based on blues: "That's All Right Mama", "Johnny B. Goode
Johnny B. Goode
"Johnny B. Goode" is a 1958 rock and roll song written and originally performed by American musician Chuck Berry. The song was a major hit among both black and white audiences peaking at #2 on Billboard magazine's Hot R&B Sides chart and #8 on the Billboard Hot 100.The song is one of Chuck Berry's...

", "Blue Suede Shoes
Blue Suede Shoes
"Blue Suede Shoes" is a rock and roll standard written and first recorded by Carl Perkins in 1955 and is considered one of the first rockabilly records and incorporated elements of blues, country and pop music of the time...

", "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin On
Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin On
"Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" is a song best known in the 1957 rock and roll/rockabilly hit version by Jerry Lee Lewis.-Origins of the song:...

", "Shake, Rattle, and Roll", and "Long Tall Sally
Long Tall Sally
"Long Tall Sally" is a rock and roll 12-bar blues song written by Robert "Bumps" Blackwell, Enotris Johnson and Richard Penniman , recorded by Little Richard and released March 1956 on the Specialty Records label....

". The early African American rock musicians retained the sexual themes and innuendos of blues music: "Got a gal named Sue, knows just what to do" ("Tutti Frutti
Tutti Frutti (song)
"Tutti Frutti" is a 1955 song by Little Richard, which became his first hit record. With its opening cry of "A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-lop-bop-bop!" and its hard-driving sound and wild lyrics, it became not only a model for many future Little Richard songs, but also one of the...

", Little Richard
Little Richard
Richard Wayne Penniman , known by the stage name Little Richard, is an American singer, songwriter, musician, recording artist, and actor, considered key in the transition from rhythm and blues to rock and roll in the 1950s. He was also the first artist to put the funk in the rock and roll beat and...

) or "See the girl with the red dress on, She can do the Birdland all night long" ("What'd I Say", Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Ray Charles Robinson , known by his shortened stage name Ray Charles, was an American musician. He was a pioneer in the genre of soul music during the 1950s by fusing rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues styles into his early recordings with Atlantic Records...

). The 12-bar blues structure can be found even in novelty pop songs, such as Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

's "Obviously Five Believers" and Esther and Abi Ofarim
Esther and Abi Ofarim
Esther Ofarim is an Israeli female vocalist.She met Abi Ofarim, a guitarist and dancer, in 1959 and subsequently married him. With her husband and without him she began to sing Hebrew and international folk songs....

's "Cinderella Rockefella
Cinderella Rockefella
"Cinderella Rockefella" was a novelty single written by Mason Williams and Nancy Ames, and most famously released by the Israeli duo group Esther and Abi Ofarim, a married couple, in 1968.The song features yodelling and a somewhat 1920s style lyrics and music...

".

In popular culture

Like jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

, rock and roll
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

, heavy metal music
Heavy metal music
Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the Midlands of the United Kingdom and the United States...

, hip hop music
Hip hop music
Hip hop music, also called hip-hop, rap music or hip-hop music, is a musical genre consisting of a stylized rhythmic music that commonly accompanies rapping, a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted...

, reggae
Reggae
Reggae is a music genre first developed in Jamaica in the late 1960s. While sometimes used in a broader sense to refer to most types of Jamaican music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that originated following on the development of ska and rocksteady.Reggae is based...

, country music
Country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

, and pop music
Pop music
Pop music is usually understood to be commercially recorded music, often oriented toward a youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple songs utilizing technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes.- Definitions :David Hatch and Stephen Millward define pop...

, blues has been accused of being the "devil
Satan
Satan , "the opposer", is the title of various entities, both human and divine, who challenge the faith of humans in the Hebrew Bible...

's music" and of inciting violence and other poor behavior. In the early 20th century, the blues was considered disreputable, especially as white audiences began listening to the blues during the 1920s. In the early twentieth century, W.C. Handy
W. C. Handy
William Christopher Handy was a blues composer and musician. He was widely known as the "Father of the Blues"....

 was the first to popularize blues-influenced music among non-black Americans.

During the blues revival of the 1960s and '70s, acoustic blues artist Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal (musician)
Henry Saint Clair Fredericks , who uses the stage name Taj Mahal, is an American Grammy Award winning blues musician. He incorporates elements of world music into his music...

 and legendary Texas bluesman Lightnin' Hopkins
Lightnin' Hopkins
Sam John Hopkins better known as Lightnin’ Hopkins, was an American country blues singer, songwriter, guitarist and occasional pianist, from Houston, Texas...

 wrote and performed music that figured prominently in the popularly and critically acclaimed film Sounder
Sounder (film)
Sounder is a 1972 film starring Cicely Tyson, Paul Winfield, Kevin Hooks, Carmen Mathews, Taj Mahal, Eric Hooks and Janet MacLachlan. It was adapted by Lonne Elder III and directed by Martin Ritt from the 1970 Newbery Medal-winning novel Sounder by William H...

(1972). The film earned Mahal a Grammy nomination for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture and a BAFTA nomination. Almost 30 years later, Mahal wrote blues for, and performed a banjo composition, claw-hammer style, in the 2001 movie release "Songcatcher
Songcatcher
The film's score was written by David Mansfield, who also assembled a roster of female country music artists to perform mostly traditional mountain ballads. Some of the songs are contemporary arrangements, and some are played in the traditional Appalachian music style. The artists include Rosanne...

", which focused on the story of the preservation of the roots music of Appalachia
Appalachian music
Appalachian music is the traditional music of the region of Appalachia in the Eastern United States. It is derived from various European and African influences, including English ballads, Irish and Scottish traditional music , religious hymns, and African-American blues...

.

Perhaps the most visible example of the blues style of music in the late 20th century came in 1980, when Dan Aykroyd
Dan Aykroyd
Daniel Edward "Dan" Aykroyd, CM is a Canadian comedian, actor, screenwriter, musician, winemaker and ufologist. He was an original cast member of Saturday Night Live, an originator of The Blues Brothers and Ghostbusters and has had a long career as a film actor and screenwriter.-Early...

 and John Belushi
John Belushi
John Adam Belushi was an American comedian, actor, and musician, best known as one of the original cast members of the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live, The Star of the Films National Lampoon's Animal House and the The Blues Brothers and for fronting the American blues and soul...

 released the film The Blues Brothers
The Blues Brothers (film)
The Blues Brothers is a 1980 musical comedy film directed by John Landis and starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as "Joliet" Jake and Elwood Blues, characters developed from a musical sketch on the NBC variety series Saturday Night Live. It features musical numbers by R&B and soul singers James...

. The film drew many of the biggest living influenciers of the Rhythm and blues
Rhythm and blues
Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated to R&B, is a genre of popular African American music that originated in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a...

 genre together, such as Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Ray Charles Robinson , known by his shortened stage name Ray Charles, was an American musician. He was a pioneer in the genre of soul music during the 1950s by fusing rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues styles into his early recordings with Atlantic Records...

, James Brown
James Brown
James Joseph Brown was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and recording artist. He is the originator of Funk and is recognized as a major figure in the 20th century popular music for both his vocals and dancing. He has been referred to as "The Godfather of Soul," "Mr...

, Cab Calloway
Cab Calloway
Cabell "Cab" Calloway III was an American jazz singer and bandleader. He was strongly associated with the Cotton Club in Harlem, New York City where he was a regular performer....

, Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin
Aretha Louise Franklin is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Although known for her soul recordings and referred to as The Queen of Soul, Franklin is also adept at jazz, blues, R&B, gospel music, and rock. Rolling Stone magazine ranked her atop its list of The Greatest Singers of All...

, and John Lee Hooker
John Lee Hooker
John Lee Hooker was an American blues singer-songwriter and guitarist.Hooker began his life as the son of a sharecropper, William Hooker, and rose to prominence performing his own unique style of what was originally closest to Delta blues. He developed a 'talking blues' style that was his trademark...

. The band formed also began a successful tour under the Blues Brothers
The Blues Brothers
The Blues Brothers are an American blues and soul revivalist band founded in 1978 by comedy actors Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi as part of a musical sketch on Saturday Night Live...

 marquee. 1998 brought a sequel, Blues Brothers 2000
Blues Brothers 2000
Blues Brothers 2000 is a 1998 American musical comedy film that is a sequel to the 1980 film The Blues Brothers. Directed by John Landis, the film featured Dan Aykroyd and John Goodman, with cameos by many musicians.-Plot:...

that, while not holding as great a critical and financial success, featured a much larger number of blues artists, such as B.B. King, Bo Diddley
Bo Diddley
Ellas Otha Bates , known by his stage name Bo Diddley, was an American rhythm and blues vocalist, guitarist, songwriter , and inventor...

, Erykah Badu
Erykah Badu
Erica Abi Wright , better known by her stage name Erykah Badu , is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and actress. Her work includes elements from R&B, hip hop and jazz. She is best known for her role in the rise of the neo soul sub-genre, and for her eccentric, cerebral musical...

, Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton
Eric Patrick Clapton, CBE, is an English guitarist and singer-songwriter. Clapton is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist, and separately as a member of The Yardbirds and Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and...

, Steve Winwood
Steve Winwood
Stephen Lawrence "Steve" Winwood is an English international recording artist whose career spans nearly 50 years. He is a songwriter and a musician whose genres include soul music , R&B, rock, blues-rock, pop-rock, and jazz...

, Charlie Musselwhite
Charlie Musselwhite
Charlie Musselwhite is an American electric blues harmonica player and bandleader, one of the non-black bluesmen who came to prominence in the early 1960s, along with Mike Bloomfield and Paul Butterfield. Though he has often been identified as a "white bluesman", he claims Native American heritage...

, Blues Traveller, Jimmy Vaughn, Jeff Baxter
Jeff Baxter
Jeff "Skunk" Baxter is an American guitarist, known for his stints in the rock bands Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers during the 1970s...

.

In 2003, Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese
Martin Charles Scorsese is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and film historian. In 1990 he founded The Film Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to film preservation, and in 2007 he founded the World Cinema Foundation...

 made significant efforts to promote the blues to a larger audience. He asked several famous directors such as Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood
Clinton "Clint" Eastwood, Jr. is an American film actor, director, producer, composer and politician. Eastwood first came to prominence as a supporting cast member in the TV series Rawhide...

 and Wim Wenders
Wim Wenders
Ernst Wilhelm "Wim" Wenders is a German film director, playwright, author, photographer and producer.-Early life:Wenders was born in Düsseldorf. He graduated from high school in Oberhausen in the Ruhr area. He then studied medicine and philosophy in Freiburg and Düsseldorf...

 to participate in a series of documentary films for PBS
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

 called The Blues
The Blues (film)
The Blues is a 2003 documentary film series produced by Martin Scorsese, dedicated to the history of blues music. In each of the seven episodes, a different director explores a stage in the development of the blues...

. He also participated in the rendition of compilations of major blues artists in a series of high-quality CDs. Blues guitarist and vocalist Keb' Mo'
Keb' Mo'
Keb' Mo is an American blues singer, guitarist, and songwriter, currently living in Nashville, Tennessee, United States.-Early life:From early on he had an appreciation for the blues and gospel music...

 performed his blues rendition of "America, the Beautiful" in 2006 to close out the final season of the television series The West Wing.

See also

  • 20th century music
    20th century music
    20th century music is defined by the sudden emergence of advanced technology for recording and distributing music as well as dramatic innovations in musical forms and styles...

  • African American culture
    African American culture
    African-American culture, also known as black culture, in the United States refers to the cultural contributions of Americans of African descent to the culture of the United States, either as part of or distinct from American culture. The distinct identity of African-American culture is rooted in...

  • All Music Guide to the Blues
  • Blues dance
    Blues dance
    Blues dancing is a modern term used to describe a family of historical dances that developed alongside and were danced to blues music, or the contemporary dances that are danced in that aesthetic...

  • Blues guitar playing
    Blues guitar playing
    Blues guitar playing is an instrumental technique which is used to accompany the singing of blues music. It often incorporates the use of a slide guitar technique.-History of the blues:...

  • Blues Hall of Fame
    Blues Hall of Fame
    The Blues Hall of Fame is a listing of people who have significantly contributed to blues music. Started in 1980 by the Blues Foundation, it honors those who have performed, recorded, or documented blues.-1980:*Big Bill Broonzy*Willie Dixon*John Lee Hooker...

  • Blues in New Zealand
    Blues in New Zealand
    The history of blues in New Zealand dates from the 1960s. The earliest blues influences on New Zealand musicians were indirect — not from the United States but from white British blues musicians: first the R&B styles of The Animals and The Rolling Stones, and later the blues-tinged rock of...

  • Canadian blues
    Canadian blues
    Canadian blues refers to the blues and blues-related music performed by blues bands and performers in Canada. In Canada, there are hundreds of local and regionally-based Canadian blues bands and performers. As well, there is a smaller number of bands or performers that have achieved national or...

  • Country blues
    Country blues
    Country blues is a general term that refers to all the acoustic, mainly guitar-driven forms of the blues. It often incorporated elements of rural gospel, ragtime, hillbilly, and dixieland jazz...

  • Fife and drum blues
    Fife and drum blues
    Fife and drum blues is a rural derivation of traditional country blues. It is performed typically with one lead fife player, often also the band leader and vocalist, and a troop of drummers. Unlike a drum corps, the drum troop is loosely structured. As such, a fife and drum band may have any...

  • List of blues musicians
  • List of blues standards
  • List of British blues musicians
  • List of Number-one Blues Albums
  • List of train songs
  • Mississippi Blues Trail
    Mississippi Blues Trail
    The Mississippi Blues Trail, created by the Mississippi Blues Commission, is a project to place interpretive markers at the most notable historical sites related to the growth of the blues throughout the state of Mississippi. The trail extends from the border of Louisiana in southern Mississippi...

  • Museum of African American Music
    Museum of African American Music
    The Museum of African American Music is a Smithsonian-affiliated museum being built in Newark, New Jersey. The museum is the center of a larger project to revitilize The Coast/Lincoln Park district in Newark. The museum will feature various genres of African-American music, including gospel, blues,...



Further reading

  • Brown, Luther. "Inside Poor Monkey's", Southern Spaces
    Southern Spaces
    Southern Spaces is a peer-reviewed open-access academic journal that publishes articles, photo essays and images, presentations, and short videos about real and imagined spaces and places of the Southern United States and their connections to the wider world...

    , June 22, 2006.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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