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Gordon's Blues Guides, Volume One: Delta Blues

Gordon's Blues Guides, Volume One: Delta Blues

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Gordon's Blues Guides, Volume One: Delta Blues

50 pages
31 minutes
Mar 16, 2014


Gordon's Blues Guides, Volume One: Delta Blues is a quick and easy primer on the Mississippi Delta blues music of the 1920s and '30s, providing a brief history of the music, a list of the key artists with biographies, and recommended recordings.

Mar 16, 2014

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The "Reverend of Rock 'n' Roll," Rev. Keith A. Gordon has almost 50 years in the pop culture trenches. Gordon's work has appeared in over 100 publications worldwide, as well as in several All Music Guide books and on the AMG website, as well as Blurt magazine and the Rock and Roll Globe. Rev. Gordon is the author of nearly two-dozen music-related books including The Other Side of Nashville, a history of the city's rock 'n' roll underground; Blues Deluxe: A Joe Bonamassa Buying Guide; and The Rock 'n' Roll Archives series.

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Gordon's Blues Guides, Volume One - Rev. Keith A. Gordon




Rev. Keith A. Gordon

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Copyright 2014 Rev. Keith A. Gordon

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I. The Birth of the Blues

II. Delta Blues – Key Artists

Charley Patton • David Honeyboy Edwards

Ishman Bracey • Robert Johnson

Robert Lockwood Junior • Skip James

Son House • Sonny Boy Williamson

Tommy Johnson • Tommy McClennan

III. Blues Glossary

IV. Recommended Delta Blues Albums

I. Birth of the Blues

The birth of the blues is shrouded in mystery and uncertainty, the music thought to have developed gradually over the course of several decades at the end of the 19th century. Amateur historians and academics alike agree that the blues is an amalgam of various musical styles, from West African Griots and the work songs and field hollers sung by primarily African slaves to Appalachian folk music, ragtime, and early jug band music.

American songwriter and jazz/blues great W.C. Handy is said to have heard music closely resembling the blues as early as 1892, and Handy wrote several blues songs like Memphis Blues and St. Louis Blues that would become jazz, rather than blues standards. The blues experienced its coming out party in 1920 with what is widely considered to be the first true blues song recorded, Mamie Smith's Crazy Blues.

Throughout the 1920s and '30s, the blues were defined as an art form through the efforts of traveling musicians like Charley Patton, Son House, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and others who were the sons of sharecroppers and the grandsons of slaves. Early blues artists were typically educated in a wide range of musical styles, capable of performing raucous blues music for juke joint audiences, but also being well-versed in traditional folk and popular music for when the occasion merited such performances.

Perhaps the most influential of the many styles of blues music, Mississippi Delta blues (also called Delta blues) rose out of the fertile agricultural triangle located between Vicksburg, Mississippi to the south and Memphis, Tennessee to the north, and bordered by the Mississippi River to the west and the Yazoo River to the east. In this region, where cotton was the primary cash crop, much of the property was owned by white plantation owners and worked by

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