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A Birth of the Blues

A YouTube History of Music

Early Blues 1

Banjo - Guitar - Violin

Group & Last Name Index to Full History:


Tracks are listed in chronological order by year, then alphabetically.

Listings do not reflect proper order by month or day: later oft precedes earlier.

Not on this page? See history tree below.



Black Ace    Pink Anderson    Kokomo Arnold

Barbecue Bob    Scrapper Blackwell    Blind Blake    Ishmon Bracey    Big Bill Broonzy    Willie Brown    Richard Rabbit Brown    Sam Butler
Bo Carter    Gus Cannon    Sam Collins    Floyd Council
Sleepy John Estes
Blind Boy Fuller
Gitfiddle Jim
Robert Hicks    King Solomon Hill    Son House     Peg Leg Howell    John Hurt
Skip James    Bo Weavil Jackson    Papa Charlie Jackson    Blind Lemon Jefferson    Blind Willie Johnson    Lonnie Johnson    Robert Johnson    Tommy Johnson    Charley Jordan
Lead Belly    Walter Furry Lewis
Carl Martin    Kansas Joe McCoy    Papa Charlie McCoy    Robert Lee McCoy    Blind Willie McTell    Memphis Minnie    Buddy Moss
Robert Nighthawk
Charlie Patton    Robert Petway
Tampa Red
Bumble Bee Slim    Frank Stokes
T-Bone Walker    Curley Weaver    Sylvester Weaver    Casey Bill Weldon    Peetie Wheatstraw    Bukka White    Josh White    Big Joe Williams    Geeshie Wiley    Reverend Robert Wilkins



Featured on this page loosely in order of first recording if not record release (as possible).

Names are alphabetical, not chronological, per year:


1923 Sylvester Weaver
1924 Papa Charlie Jackson
1925 Lonnie Johnson
1926 Blind Blake    Bo Weavil Jackson (Sam Butler)    Peg Leg Howell    Blind Lemon Jefferson
1927 Big Bill Broonzy    Richard Rabbit Brown    Gus Cannon    Sam Collins   Barbecue Bob (Robert Hicks)    Blind Willie Johnson    Walter Furry Lewis    Blind Willie McTell    Frank Stokes    Casey Bill Weldon    Josh White
1928 Pink Anderson    Scrapper Blackwell    Ishmon Bracey    Bo Carter    John Hurt    Tommy Johnson    Carl Martin    Kansas Joe McCoy    Papa Charlie McCoy    Tampa Red    Curley Weaver    Casey Bill Weldon    Josh White    Reverend Robert Wilkins
1929 Willie Brown    Sleepy John Estes    Memphis Minnie    Charlie Patton    T-Bone Walker
1930 Kokomo Arnold    Gitfiddle Jim    Son House    Charley Jordan    Buddy Moss    Peetie Wheatstraw    Bukka White    Geeshie Wiley
1931 Bumble Bee Slim    Skip James    Big Joe Williams
1932 King Solomon Hill
1935 Blind Boy Fuller    Lead Belly
1936 Robert Johnson
1937 Black Ace    Floyd Council    Robert Lee McCoy (Robert Nighthawk)
1941 Robert Petway


  Formally, what distinguishes the blues from other musical genres is a matter of bar and stanza structure, tonality (key) and flattened "blue" notes. Otherwise, for some, the blues are a limb of early jazz (ragtime), good examples of that in Blues 2, Early Jazz 1, Early Jazz 2 and Early Jazz 3. But on this page we witness (for a large part) blues deriving out of a deep southern branch of folk music, the blues that would develop in rural barrel houses upon Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. When speaking terms of a "Father" of the blues, one is talking William Handy. Some cite Hart Wand for 'Dallas Blues' (1912) although Antonio Maggio earlier published 'I Got the Blues' in 1908 and 'Alabama Blues' in 1909. William Handy was born in Alabama but early left for Chicago, he the progenitor of northern urban blues. This page focuses on southern rural blues where such as Lead Belly performed for decades before making any recordings.


Birth of the Blues: Sara Martin with Sylvester Weaver

Sara Martin    Sylvester Weaver

Source: Terry's Songs


Born in 1897 in Louisville, Kentucky, blues guitarist Sylvester Weaver's first recordings were with Sara Martin in 1923, thought on Halloween that year: 'Longing for Daddy Blues' and 'I've Got to Go and Leave My Daddy'. A couple weeks later he recorded his titles, 'Guitar Blues' and 'Guitar Rag' (1st version). Weaver became the daddy of blues guitar due largely to his partnership with Martin. Others with whom he recorded were violinist, E.L. Coleman, with Charles Washington on banjo for 'Steel String Blues' in St. Louis, MO, in 1925. 'Alligator Blues' was put down with with Helen Humes in November of 1927. Among Weaver's own compositions were:

   Chittlin Rag Blues
   Devil Blues
   Hungry Blues (Me and My Tapeworm)
   Penitentiary Blues
   Poor Boy Blues
   Rock Pile Blues
   Sofy Steel Piston
   True Love Blues
   Weaver Stomp

Refer to compositional credits at Australian Charts as well. As a popular guitarist for the few years that he recorded, Weaver retired from the music industry in 1927 to live in obscurity in Louisville, KY, until his death on April 4, 1960. Weaver's complete recordings became available in 1992 per Volumes 1 & 2 of 'Complete Recorded Works' by Document Records. He is credited with the composition of all titles below.

Sylvester Weaver   1923

   Guitar Blues

Sylvester Weaver   1927

   Bottle Neck Blues

      With Walter Beasley

  Can't Be Trusted Blues

   Guitar Rag



Born in New Orleans in 1887, banjo player Papa Charlie Jackson mixed blues with ragtime, first recording in 1924 per 'Airy Man Blues' and 'Lawdy Lawdy Blues'. Jackson recorded a total of 66 sides, largely for Paramount, to as late as 1934 when he is thought to have retired to Chicago until his relatively early death on May 7, 1938. Jackson's 'All I Want Is a Spoonful' eventually contributed to the blues standard by Willie Dixon in 1960, 'Spoonful', recorded by Howlin' Wolf. His most famous composition was 'Shake That Thing', also in 1925. Though that song technically referred to dance it emerged about the same time as what's called hokum blues, that is, bawdy blues featuring slippery innuendos. Among other of Jackson's compositional credits are lyrics to 'Salty Dog' recorded in 1926 with both Clara Smith and Freddie Keppard. Jackson discography at American Music. Discographies with compositional notes at australiancharts, keeponliving and redhotjazz.

Papa Charlie Jackson   1924

   Airy Man Blues

   Lawdy Lawdy Blues

     Composition: Ida Cox   1923

Papa Charlie Jackson   1925

   All I Want Is a Spoonful

   Drop That Sack

   Hot Papa Blues

     Composition: Gertrude Davis   1925

   Shake That Thing

   Take Me Back Blues

Papa Charlie Jackson   1926

   The Judge Cliff Davis Blues

Papa Charlie Jackson   1929

   Hot Papa Blues

     Composition: Gertrude Davis   1925


Birth of the Blues: Papa Charlie Jackson

Papa Charlie Jackson

Source: Red Hot Jazz

Birth of the Blues: Lonnie Johnson

Lonnie Johnson

Source: Red Hot Jazz

Born in New Orleans in 1899, guitarist and violinist Lonnie Johnson first recorded in 1925 as the prize of winning a blues contest. That was the same year Louis Armstrong formed his Hot Five, while across the Atlantic Hitler published 'Mein Kampf'. Johnson plays violin on 'Ball and Chain Blues' below. Johnson's early career during the Depression years included gigs with such as Bessie Smith, and pianists James Johnson and Roosevelt Sykes, among others, as well as a solid recording career with Bluebird Records. After World War II Johnson transitioned toward rhythm and blues, toured England in 1952, then experienced tough times during which he had to take janitorial jobs between club gigs. In 1969 Johnson was hit by a car while walking down a sidewalk in Toronto, hastening his death the next year on June 16, 1970. Found on nearly 500 recordings, DAHR lists his discography from its beginning in 1925 to 1930 per vocals and instrumentals. Partial discographies with compositional credits at chickenchokers and honkingduck. See also australiancharts, keeponliving and redhotjazz. Johnson composed all titles below except otherwise noted.

Lonnie Johnson   1925

   Ball and Chain Blues

   Fallin' Rain Blues

Lonnie Johnson   1926

   Five O'Clock Blues

Lonnie Johnson   1928

   Broken Levee Blues

Lonnie Johnson   1930

   Long Black Train

Lonnie Johnson   1938

   New Fallin' Rain Blues

Lonnie Johnson   1939

   She's Only a Woman

Lonnie Johnson   1942

   The Devil's Woman

Lonnie Johnson   1948

   Happy New Year Darling

Lonnie Johnson   1951


      With Tiny Bradshaw

     Composer unknown

   Me And My Crazy Self

      With Tiny Bradshaw

     Composition: Henry Glover/Lois Mann

   Seven Long Days

      With Tiny Bradshaw

     Composition: Jessie Mae Robinson

Lonnie Johnson   1966

   Swingin' the Blues



Born in 1896, guitarist Blind Blake (Arthur Blake) produced 80 tracks for Paramount Records between 1926 and 1932. Approaching both blues and ragtime, Blake's first release was 'Early Morning Blues' in 1926 with 'West Coast Blues' on B side. He is thought to have performed with Ma Rainey in December of '26 for such as 'Little Low Mama Blues' and 'Grievin' Hearted Blues'. Blake is recognized to this day as a masterful guitar player, picking in particular, as exampled on such as 'Diddie Wah Diddie' and 'Police Dog Blues' in 1929. Blake featured in the traveling Vaudeville show, 'Happy Go Lucky', in 1930 and '31. He recorded his final tracks in 1932 for Paramount. Unfortunately Blake died young of tuberculosis on December 1, 1934, only 38 years old. Most titles below were composed by Blake. As for 'He's in the Jailhouse Now' (1927), that was a Vaudeville tune of unknown origin, numerous versions of which have been recorded, most famously by Jimmie Rodgers in 1928, the Memphis Sheiks (Memphis Jug Band) in 1930, Webb Pierce in 1955 and Johnny Cash in 1962. Discographies with compositional notes at australian charts and keeponliving. A complete compilation of Blind Blake appeared in 2003 titled 'All the Published Sides' in a box set of 5 CDs.

Blind Blake   1926

   Early Morning Blues

   West Coast Blues

   Back Biting Bee Blues

      Vocalist: Leola Wilson

     Composition: Bessie Smith

   Blake's Worried Blues

   Come On Boys Let's Do That Messin' Around

   Down the Country

      Vocalist: Leola Wilson

   Skeedle Loo Doo Blues

   Stonewall Street Blues

   Tampa Bound

   Too Tight

Blind Blake   1927

   Hard Road Blues

   He's In the Jailhouse Now

   Wabash Rag

Blind Blake   1929

   Diddie Wah Diddie

   Georgia Bound

    Police Dog Blues

Blind Blake   1930

    Stingaree Man Blues

      Vocal: Chocolate Brown (Irene Scruggs)


Birth of the Blues: Blind Blake

Arthur Blind Blake

  Bo Weavil Jackson (James Butler?) is conjectured to have been born possibly in Birmingham or somewhere in the Carolinas, though neither where nor when is known. He is said to have been busking the streets of Birmingham when he was discovered  to the result of several recordings made in Chicago circa August 1926 for Paramount: 'You Can't Keep No Brown'/'Pistol Blues', 'When the Saints Come Marching Home'/'I'm on My Way to the Kingdom Land' and 'Why Do You Moan'/'Some Scream High Yellow'. Those were followed by tracks as Sam Butler for Vocalion on September 30 in New York City: 'You Can't Keep No Brown'/'Devil and My Brown Blues', 'Heaven Is My View'/'Christians Fight On' and 'Poor Boy Blues'/'Jefferson County Blues'. Jackson (Butler) then disappeared, ne'er to be heard from again, there no more record of his death than his birth. Jackson's complete recordings were issued in 1982 by Matchbox Records on a platter in their 'Complete Recordings in Chronological Order' series.

Sam Butler   1926

   Christians Fight On, Your Time Ain't Long

   Some Scream High Yellow

   When the Saints Come Marching Home

   You Can't Keep No Brown


Birth of the Blues: Sam Butler

Bo Weavil Jackson

Source: Michael Messer


Birth of the Blues: Peg Leg Howell

Peg Leg Howell

Source: Discogs

Born Joshua Barnes Howell in Eatonton, Georgia, in 1888, life had been a conspicuously mean one for Peg Leg Howell. Howell had started life as a farm laborer, until he was shot in the right leg during a fight and it had to be amputated. No longer able to work in the fields, he turned to music, migrating to Atlanta, Georgia, to busk on the streets. That, of course, couldn't pay the rent, so he started selling bootleg liquor. For which he went to prison. Upon release he started performing on street corners again. Which, uniquely, resulted in a recording contract with Columbia Records in 1926. (Howell had written 'New Prison Blues', below, while incarcerated.) Unfortunately, Howell's recording career couldn't pay the rent either. So he started bootlegging again while performing on the streets. He didn't end up in jail this time, but would lose his left leg of diabetes, consigning him to a wheelchair and ineluctable poverty. Howell made final recordings in 1963 (age 75) before dying on August 11, 1966. Discography at American Music.

Peg Leg Howell   1926

   Coal Man Blues

   New Prison Blues

Peg Leg Howell   1927

   Hobo Blues

  Moanin' and Groanin' Blues

  New Jelly Roll Blues

  Papa Stobb Blues

  Peg Leg Stomp

Peg Leg Howell   1928

  Please Ma'am

   Turtle Dove Blues

Peg Leg Howell   1964

   Let Me Play with Your Yo-Yo



Birth of the Blues: Blind Lemon Jefferson

Blind Lemon Jefferson

Source: KPLU 88.5

Born in Couchman, Texas, in 1893, Blind Lemon Jefferson was a traveling guitarist and composer who first recorded in 1926 with 'I Want to Be Like Jesus In My Heart' and 'All I Want is that Pure Religion', both below. He enjoyed a successful recording career with Paramount Records until his early death in Chicago, likely of heart attack, in 1929. Jefferson recorded two versions of 'Match Box Blues', both below. (The Okeh version is one of only two tracks he made for that label.) 'Match Box Blues' is listed as one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll. He also did a couple versions of 'See That My Grave Is Kept Clean', reflected below. Recordings with songwriting credits so far as known at Australian Chart.

Blind Lemon Jefferson   1926

   All I Want Is That Pure Religion

   I Want To Be Like Jesus In My Heart

Blind Lemon Jefferson   1927

   Black Snake Moan

   Easy Rider Blues

   Lonesome House Blues

   Match Box Blues

      Okeh version

   Match Box Blues

      Paramount version

  See That My Grave Is Kept Clean

Blind Lemon Jefferson   1928

   See That My Grave Is Kept Clean



Birth of the Blues: Big Bill Broonzy

Big Bill Broonzy

Source: Blues (やねん!)

Guitarist Big Bill Broonzy (Lee Conley Bradley) was born in 1893 in Arkansas. He first recorded in 1927, 'Big Bill Blues' and 'House Rent Stomp' among his first. Broonzy's career sputtered until the latter thirties when it picked up steam, Broonzy to become one of the most highly regarded blues musicians on the scene until his death of throat cancer two decades later in 1958. The blues standard, 'Key to the Highway', below, is among Broonzy's more than 300 compositions. Partial lists of songs he's written are at australiancharts, discogs and secondhandsongs.

Big Bill Broonzy   1927

   Big Bill Blues

   House Rent Stomp

Big Bill Broonzy   1932

   Long Tall Mama

Big Bill Broonzy   1934

   Mississippi River Blues

Big Bill Broonzy   1941

   I Feel So Good

   Key to the Highway

Big Bill Broonzy   1956

   When Did You Leave Heaven

     Composition: Richard Whiting/Walter Bullock   1936



Richard "Rabbit" Brown, born about 1880, lived his entire life in New Orleans. He performed in nightclubs, on the streets and was also a singing boatman at Lake Pontchartrain. He first recorded six tracks ('Great Northern Blues' unissued) on March 11, 1927, such as 'James Alley' and 'I'm Not Jealous' (Victor 20578). Bob Dylan did a well-known cover of 'James Alley' in 1963. Another of Brown's compositions, 'Mystery of the Dunbar's Child', was recorded that day. Those sessions were also Brown's last unless it's true that he recorded 'Does Jesus Care?' and 'Where He Leads Me I Will Follow' (Vocalion 1273) as Blind Willie Harris circa February of 1929. Brown is thought to have died in New Orleans about 1937.

Richard Brown   1927

   I'm Not Jealous

     Composition: Richard Rabbit Brown

  James Alley Blues

     Composition: Richard Rabbit Brown

   Never Let The Same Bee Sting You Twice

     Composition: Chris Smith/Cecil Mack   1916

   The Sinking of the Titanic

     Composition: Traditional


Birth of the Blues: Richard Rabbit Brown

Richard Rabbit Brown

Source: Smokestack Lightnin'



Mississippi-born (1883) banjo player Gus Cannon first recorded in Chicago circa November 1927 with Blind Blake ('He's in the Jailhouse Now'). He recorded six titles as Banjo Joe the same month. In 1928 he formed the Jug Stompers with Noah Lewis (harmonica) and Ashley Thompson (guitar), all three having first played together as teenagers in 1907 in Memphis, Tennessee. Though the group disbanded in 1930, after which Cannon largely retired, some twenty years later he revived his career, next recording in 1956. His career would take an upward swing during the blues revival in the sixties. Nice royalties were earned in 1962 when the Rooftop Singers covered his composition, 'Walk Right In'. Cannon performed music until his death in 1979 at 96 years of age. Per below, 'Going to Germany' is thought to refer to Germantown, Tennessee. Dates below reference recording, not issue, years.

Gus Cannon   1927

  Can You Blame the Colored Man

  He's in the Jailhouse Now

    With Blnd Blake

     Composition: Unknown   Vaudeville lineage

   Madison Street Blues

   My Money Never Runs Out

   Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home

     Composition: Traditional

Gus Cannon   1928

   Big Railroad Blues

     Composition: Noah Lewis

  Hollywood Rag

   Minglewood Blues

     Composition: Noah Lewis

   Viola Lee Blues

     Composition: Noah Lewis

Gus Cannon   1929

   Going to Germany

    Pretty Mama Blues

     Walk Right In


Birth of the Blues: Gus Cannon

Gus Cannon

Source: Musician by Night

Birth of the Blues: Sam Collins

Sam Collins

Source: Past Blues


Crying Sam Collins was a Louisiana barrelhouse performer born in Louisiana in 1897. Wikipedia has Collins performing in barrelhouses with King Solomon Hill circa 1924. He made his first recordings circa April 23, 1927, for Gennett: 'Yellow Dog Blues', 'Loving Lady Blues', 'The Jailhouse Blues', 'Riverside Blues' and 'Devil in the Lions Den'. Collins used a number of pseudonyms as well: Jim Foster, Jelly Roll Hunter, Big Boy Woods, Bunny Carter and Salty Dog Sam. Collins died of heart disease in Chicago in 1949 at age sixty-two. A Collins anthology was released in 1991 by Document Records titled 'Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order 1927-1931'. Per 'Lonesome Road Blues' below, American Music (first recordings above) has 'Lonesome Lane Blues' unissued as Gennett GEX-1014-A in 1927 and supplies no link to YouTube. AM then lists 'Lonesome Road Blues' per 1931 as Perfect 10836 issued as 0222, but points to the sample below listed at YouTube as 1927, apparently dated in error as it is the same recording as all other of Collins' 1931 'Lonesome Road Blues' at YouTube. As for Collins' 1927 'Lonesome Lane Blues', AM appears to be the only mention of such on the internet. A list of Collins' compositions at Australian Charts.

Sam Collins   1927

  Loving Lady Blues

   Midnight Special Blues

     Composition: Traditional

  Yellow Dog Blues

Sam Collins   1931

   Lonesome Road Blues

   My Road Is Rough and Rocky


  Born in 1902 in Georgia, it is said that Barbecue Bob (Robert Hicks) was the first musician to be recorded by Columbia Records in their new recording studio in Atlanta in 1927. That recording, 'Barbecue Blues', swiftly sold 15,000 copies, proving Columbia had made a good bet. Barbecue Bob last recorded with the Georgia Cotton Pickers in 1930. He died the next year, but age 29. Hicks acquired the name 'Barbecue Bob' because he had worked at Tidwell's Barbecue in north Atlanta while playing music on the side. Discographies at American Music, discogs and rateyourmusic. See australianmusic for songwriting credits.

Barbecue Bob   1927

   Barbecue Blues

Barbecue Bob   1929

   Red Hot Mama

   Unnamed Blues

   Yo Yo Blues

Barbecue Bob   1930

   I'm On My Way Down Home


Birth of the Blues: Barbecue Bob

Barbecue Bob (Robert Hicks)

  Born in Brenham, Texas, in 1897, Blind Willie Johnson made himself a cigar box guitar at age five, perhaps in time-distortion preparation to join numerous other blues musicians who were blind. For at age seven he was accidentally blinded by his stepmother with lye during a fight with his father. Johnson would spend the rest of his life in poverty, singing blues and spirituals on the streets of Texan towns largely in the Beaumont area. Though 'If I Had My Way I'd Tear the Building Down' is a spiritual about Samson and Delilah, Johnson was once arrested for singing it in front of a government building in New Orleans (riot incitement). He made his first recordings at age thirty (1927) for Columbia Records. He would later make his home in Beaumont the House of Prayer, preaching as Reverend W.J. Johnson. In 1945 that same home would burn down. Too poor to quarter elsewhere he lived in its ruins until his death the same year of malarial fever. Consult australiancharts for songwriting credits. Compositions by Johnson covered by later artists were released in 2016 as 'God Don't Never Change: The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson'. Titles below are Johnson compositions except as otherwise noted.

Blind Willie Johnson   1927

   Dark Was the Night

   If I Had My Way I'd Tear the Building Down

   Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed

   Nobody's Fault But Mine

Blind Willie Johnson   1928

   Lord I Just Can't Keep from Crying

     Composition: Traditional

Blind Willie Johnson   1930

  Trouble Will Soon Be Over


Birth of the Blues: Blind Willie Johnson

Blind Willie Johnson

  Born in 1893 in Greenwood, Mississippi, Walter "Furry" Lewis was entertaining on the street, at parties and taverns by age fifteen. He eventually began traveling, whence he played with various performers, including the WC Handy Orchestra, Bessie Smith, Blind Lemon Jefferson and Texas Alexander. In 1922 he wearied of the road and settled in Memphis, taking a job as a street sweeper which he kept until retirement. Lewis cut his first records for the Vocalion label in Chicago in 1927. Lewis died in 1981 at age 88, of heart failure, but not before recognition ranging from an appearance on Johnny Carson's 'Tonight Show'', a profile in 'Playboy' magazine and even opening for the Rolling Stones on two occasions. Brief list of Lewis compositions and recorded traditionals. Recordings with songwriting credits so far as known at australiancharts.

Walter Furry Lewis   1927

   Big Chief Blues

   Billy Lyons and Stack O'Lee

   Everybody's Blues

   Falling Down Blues

   Jelly Roll

   Mr. Furry's Blues

   Rock Island Blues

   Sweet Papa Moan

Walter Furry Lewis   1928

   Black Gypsy Blues

   Creeper Blues

   Cannonball Blues

   I Will Turn Your Money Green

   John Henry Blues

     Composition: Traditional

   Judge Harsh Blues

   Mistreatin' Mama


Birth of the Blues: Walter Furry Lewis

Walter Furry Lewis

Source: Smithsonian Folkways

Birth of the Blues: Blind Willie McTell

Blind Willie McTell

Source: Past Blues

Born blind in Thomson, Georgia in 1898, Blind Willie McTell was yet another blues musician who first recorded in 1927 (Victor Records), he 29 years of age. He would become a traveling performer and record for several labels under various pseudonyms before ending up busking for change in Atlanta. McTell last recorded in 1956. In 1957 he began preaching at Atlanta's Mt. Zion Baptist Church, a couple years before dying of stroke on August 19, 1959. Other than those below, compositions by McTell are listed in anthologies at discogs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Research compositional credits at australiancharts as well.

Blind Willie McTell   1927

   Writin' Paper Blues

Blind Willie McTell   1928

   Loving Talking Blues

Blind Willie McTell   1929

   Come On Around To My House Mama

Blind Willie McTell   1931

   Southern Can Is Mine

   Stomp Down Rider

Blind Willie McTell   1933

   Broke Down Engine

   Lord, Send Me an Angel

   My Baby's Gone

   You Was Born to Die

Blind Willie McTell   1935

   Ain't It Grand to Be a Christian

     Composition: Traditional

Blind Willie McTell   1940

   Amazing Grace

     Composition: See Anointed Links

   Kill-It-Kid Rag

   King Edward Blues

Blind Willie McTell   1949

   Little Delia

   Pal of Mine



Birth of the Blues: Frank Stokes

Frank Stokes

Source: Jonathan Bogart

Frank Stokes is largely known for his partnership with Dan Sane as a duet, and his later duets with fiddler, Will Batts. At age twelve (1900) Stokes was a blacksmith, and would travel 25 miles on his weekends to perform with Sane on the streets of Memphis. Not until 27 years later would he first record, with the Beale Street Sheiks (Stokes and Dan Sane). That was in August and September of 1927, American Music beginning with 'You Shall' and 'It's a Good Thing' (Paramount 12518). February 1 of the next year witnessed Stokes' debut titles: 'Bedtime Blues' and 'Downtown Blues' (Victor 21272). 'What's the Matter Blues' saw session on the 1st as well, followed by several titles later in August. Six more issued titles with the Beale Street Sheiks arrived in March of 1929, eight more name titles by Stokes later in September. His last four recordings were made on the 30th: 'I'm Going Away Blues' w 'Old Sometime Blues' (Victor V23341) with Watts on violin, and the solos, 'Frank Stokes' Dream' w 'Memphis Rounders Blues' (Victor V23411). Stokes followed his recording career with circuses, medicine shows and, with Bukka White, juke joints in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Stokes died of stroke in Memphis on September 12, 1955. Titles by the Beale Street Sheiks. All titles per 1927 below are as the Beale Street Sheiks. A partial list of recordings with compositional credits at australiancharts. All songs below were written by Stokes except unknown marked with asterisk (*).

Frank Stokes   1927

   Beale Town Bound

     Composed with Dan Sane

  Blues in D*

  Chicken You Can Roost

     Composition: Traditional

  Mr. Crump Don't Like It

     Composed with Dan Sane

Frank Stokes   1928

  Bedtime Blues

  Downtown Blues

     Composed with Dan Sane

  How Long

  I Got Mine

  Stomp That Thing

  What's the Matter Blues

Frank Stokes   1929

  Frank Stokes' Dream

  Memphis Rounders Blues

   Old Sometime Blues

     Fiddle: Will Batts

   Take Me Back



Birth of the Blues: Casey Bill Weldon

Casey Bill Weldon

Source: Last FM

Memphis, Tennessee was a major blues hub (Beale Street in particular) and Casey Bill Weldon was yet another Memphis bluesman, first recording on February 24, 1927, at age eighteen in Memphis with the Memphis Jug Band (MJB). American Music (AM) begins its discography with 'Sun Brimmers Blues' and 'Stingy Woman Blues'. Together with Weldon at guitar and vocals, the MJB consisted of Will Shade (harmonica), Ben Ramey (kazoo) and Charlie Polk (jug). Amidst numerous sessions by the MJB to follow, AM has Weldon's first session with Vol Stevens on banjo on October 20, 1927, in Atlanta, Georgia: 'Turpentine Blues' and 'Hitch Me to Your Buggy and Drive Me Like a Mule'. Weldon recorded scores of songs for various labels, also working as a session guitarist, until 1938. A move to Los Angeles found him contributing to soundtracks, after which he fell into obscurity, dying some time after 1968, no one knows where. In his earlier years Weldon had been married first to Memphis Minnie, then Geeshie Wiley.

Casey Bill Weldon   1927

   Hitch Me to Your Buggy

     Banjo: Vol Stevens

   I'll See You In The Spring

     Memphis Jug Band

   Turpentine Blues

     Banjo: Vol Stevens

Casey Bill Weldon   1928

   Snitchin' Gambler Blues

     Memphis Jug Band

     Lyrics: Anonymous   1896>

Casey Bill Weldon   1936

   As the Clock Struck Four

   Sold My Soul to the Devil

   We Gonna Move on the Outskirts of Town

Casey Bill Weldon   1937

   Blues Everywhere I Go

   Give Me Another Shot

   I'm a Stranger In Your Town

Casey Bill Weldon   1938

   New Round and Round



Birth of the Blues: Josh White

Joshua White

Source: Past Blues

Born in Greenville, South Carolina in 1914, guitarist Josh White got his first taste of blues as a child rendering services for blind street singers. He became a session guitarist for Paramount in 1927, making many recordings as a backup musician before producing his first single in 1932. 1933 saw his political composition, 'Low Cotton'. He married Carol Carr that year, who would perform and record with White on occasion, as would his three daughters, Beverly, Fern and Judy. His son, blues musician, Josh White Jr., had been born in 1940. White and Carr also raised a foster daughter, Delores. In the forties White's career expanded into acting and civil rights activism. He would continue his decade-long stint at Café Society in Greenwich Village - the first integrated nightclub in America (as of 1938) - which resulted in a friendship with Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt upon a performance at the White House in 1941. Titles White performed during that period were such as 'Southern Exposure' ('41), 'Little Man On a Fence' (Eleanor Young '44)' ' and 'One Meat Ball' (Hy Zaret/Lou Singer in '44 from George Lane's 'The Lone Fish Ball' published in 1855). Though not a Communist, nor associated with any political party, White's political activism resulted in testimony before the HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) in 1950. White had already begun getting blacklisted from the entertainment industry in 1947. Now he had to relocate to London to continue his career. In 1955 he was able to return to America to start slowly rebuilding his vocation, beginning with the recording of the album, 'Josh White: 25th Anniversary'. The remainder of his life found him performing in various venues throughout the world, much honored and greatly popular. White died on an operating table on September 5, 1969, during heart valve surgery. He left a legacy of well over 200 recordings. A list of some of those with songwriting credits at australiancharts.

Josh White   1932

   Baby Won't You Doodle-Doo-Doo

   Crying Blues

   Good Gal

   High Brown Cheater

   Howling Wolf Blues

   Lazy Black Snake Blues

   Little Brother Blues

Josh White   1933

   Low Cotton

Josh White   1935

   Milk Cow Blues

     Composition: Sleepy John Estes   1930

     Lyrics by White

   Sissy Man Blues

     Composition: Kokomo Arnold   1934

Josh White   1944

   One Meat Ball

     Composition: Hy Zaret/Lou Singe   1944

     From 'The Lone Fish Ball' by George Lane  1855

Josh White   1965

   Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out

      Filmed with Judy White

     Composition: Jimmy Cox   1923



Birth of the Blues: Pink Anderson

Pink Andersonfont>

Source: Discogs

Born in 1900 in Laurens, South Carolina, Pink (Pinkney) Anderson began his musical career at age fourteen, entertaining with Dr. Frank Kerr's traveling medicine show (which sold health remedies of dubious value). He recorded for the first time in 1928 with Blind Simmie Dooley, but not again until the Virginia State Fair in 1950, nor again until 1960 at his home. Pink Anderson is the reason for the first half of the name of the rock band, Pink Floyd. Floyd Council is the reason for the last half. Anderson died of heart attack on October 12, 1974, in Spartanburg, NC.

Pink Anderson   1928

   Every Day In The Week Blues

      With Simmie Dooley

   Going to Tip Out Tonight

      With Simmie Dooley

   Papa's 'Bout to Get Mad

      With Simmie Dooley

Pink Anderson   1961

   I Will Fly Away

     Composition: Albert Brumley   1929

     Published 1932

   Thousand Women Blues

     Composition: Blind Boy Fuller   1940



Birth of the Blues: Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell

Scrapper Blackwell   Leroy Carr

Source: bdla

Born in 1903 in South Carolina, guitarist Scrapper Blackwell formed his famous partnership with pianist Leroy Carr in 1928. Calivin Coolidge was President and Kellogg's came out with Rice Krispies the same year. American Music has Blackwell in a solo session on June 16, 1928 ('Kokomo Blues' and 'Penal Farm Blues') three days before his first recordings with Carr: 'How Long Blues' and 'My Own Lonesome Blues'. 'How Long Blues' became the best-selling blues tune that year. Carr and Blackwell would record together until two months before Carr's death in 1935. Without his partner, Blackwell then retired from music for two decades, but would begin recording again in 1958. Unfortunately his intention to revive his career in the blues was short-lived, as Blackwell was shot to death during a mugging on October 7, 1962, in Indianapolis, age fifty-nine. Blackwell is thought to have written 'Kokomo Blues' and 'Penal Farm Blues' below. See Blackwell recordings with songwriting credits as discogs 1, 2.

Scrapper Blackwell  1928

   How Long How Long Blues

      With Leroy Carr

     Composition: Leroy Carr

   Kokomo Blues

  Penal Farm Blues

Scrapper Blackwell  1931

   Back Door Blues

    Composition: Traditional

Scrapper Blackwell  1932

   Down in Black Bottom

    Composition: Traditional

   How Long Has That Evening Train Been Gone

     With Leroy Carr

     Composition: Leroy Carr

   Midnight Hour Blues

      With Leroy Carr

     Composition: Leroy Carr


  Born in Byram, Mississippi in 1901, Ishmon Bracey, was another Memphis musician, making his first recordings on February 4, 1928, those with Papa Charlie McCoy on guitar: 'Saturday Blues' and 'Left Alone Blues' (Victor 21349). Bracey recorded only 16 tracks during his brief blues career. A complete compilation was released on vinyl in 1983 by Wolf Records titled 'Complete Recordings in Chronological Order (1928-30)'. Monk issued the CD compilation, 'Suitcase Full of Blues', in 2010. By the fifties Blackwell had become a preacher, and by the time of the blues revival in the sixties he had lost all interest in pursuing the blues. Bracey died on February 12, 1970, in Jackson, Mississippi. All titles below are thought to be Bracey compositions.

Ishmon Bracey   1928

   Brown Mama Blues

   The Four Day Blues

   Leavin' Town Blues

   Left Alone Blues

   Saturday Blues

   Mobile Stomp

   Trouble Hearted Blues

Ishmon Bracey   1929

   Jake Liquor Blues

   Suitcase Full of Blues

   Woman Woman Blues


Birth of the Blues: Ishmon Bracey

Ishmon (also Ishman) Bracey

Source: Hell Hound

  Bo Carter (Armenter Chatmon) was born in Bolton, Mississippi, in 1893. American Music has Carter's debut sessions for Brunswick in New Orleans circa December 1928 as Bo Chatman, likely with Papa Charlie McCoy and Walter Vinson: 'East Jackson Blues', 'Good Old Turnip Greens', et al. Carter worked the Delta region variously with brothers, Lonnie (fiddle), Sam (bass) and Harry (piano). He also performed with his mother, Eliza, a guitarist like himself, and his father, Henderson Chatmon, who played violin like Lonnie. Starting as a family affair, the Mississippi Sheiks first recorded in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1930, the crew consisting of Bo (Armenter), Lonnie, Sam and Walter Vinson: 'Alberta Blues' and 'Winter Time Blues'. Amidst numerous sessions with the Sheiks that year, Carter also backed 8 titles by blues vocalist, Texas Alexander, in San Antonio on June 9, such as 'She's So Fair' and 'Rolling and Stumbling Blues'. Several tracks were put down the next day with Walter Jacobs on June 10. (Bo and Jacobs had actually earlier recorded in Shreveport with Lonnie and Vinson on February 17: 'The Sheik Waltz' and 'The Jazz Fiddler'.) Later in 1930 Carter and Vinson joined Papa Charlie McCoy to record six titles on December 15 as the Mississippi Mud Steppers: 'Jackson Stomp', 'Alma Waltz' (Ruby Waltz), et al. Carter eventually moved north to the blues hub that was Memphis perhaps in 1940. But by then he had dropped out of the music industry, pursuing other means of living. Among his better known recordings was among his first, 'Corinne, Corinna', below. He is also credited with a number of risqué titles such as 'Banana in Your Fruit Basket' ('31), 'My Pencil Won't Write No More' ('31), 'Pin in Your Cushion' ('31), 'Let Me Roll Your Lemon' ('35), 'Please Warm My Wiener' ('35), 'Cigarette Blues' ('36) and 'Your Biscuits Are Big Enough For Me' ('36). A partial list of compositions by Carter at discogs. See also australiancharts. Bo Carter died in Memphis in 1964. More Bo Carter with Papa Charlie McCoy below.

Bo Carter   1928

   Corrine, Corrina

   Good Old Turnip Greens

Bo Carter   1930

   Times Is Tight Like That

Bo Carter   1931

   All Around Man

  Banana in Your Fruitbasket

  My Pencil Won't Write No More

  Please Warm My Weiner

  Pretty Baby

  Pussy Cat Blues

  She's Your Cook

  You Don't Love Me No More

  You Keep On Spending My Change

Bo Carter   1934

   Don't Cross Lay Your Daddy

  Nobody's Business

Bo Carter   1935

   Mashing That Thing

  She's Gonna Crawl Home to You

Bo Carter   1936

   Cigarette Blues

Bo Carter   1938

   Old Devil

Bo Carter   1940

   Policy Blues


Birth of the Blues: Bo Carter

Bo Carter

Source: Jesse Dean Freeman



Born in 1893 in Teoc, Mississippi, folk guitarist John Hurt went to Memphis in 1928 to record 8 titles for Okeh Records on February 14, two tracks released: 'Frankie' and 'Nobody's Dirty Business'. Twelve more titles for Okeh ensued in December of 1924 in New York City, all but two issued. They sold so poorly that Hurt returned to obscurity in Avalon, Mississippi. Rediscovered in 1963, he performed at the Newport Jazz Festival that year, having also recorded tracks to his first of several albums. He died of heart attack three years later on November 2, 1966. Partial lists of compositions by Hurt, as well as traditional songs he recorded, at discogs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. As for 'Candy Man Blues' below, Gerard Herzhaft has that imported from Ireland in 'Encyclopedia of the Blues' (University of Arkansas Press '92 and '97).

Mississippi John Hurt   1928

   Ain't No Tellin'

   Avalon Blues

   Blessed Be the Name

   Blue Harvest Blues

   Candy Man Blues

     Composition: Irish traditional


   Got the Blues (Can't Be Satisfied)

   Louis Collins

   Nobody's Dirty Business

   Praying On the Old Camp Ground

     Composition: Traditional

   Spike Driver Blues

   Stack O' Lee Blues

     Composition: See Stagger Lee

Mississippi John Hurt   1963

   Coffee Blues


Birth of the Blues: Mississippi John Hurt

Mississippi John Hurt

Source: Music Box

Birth of the Blues: Tommy Johnson

Tommy Johnson

Source: Wikipedia


Born in Terry, Mississippi, in 1896, Delta blues guitarist Tommy Johnson released his first recordings in 1928, holding his debut session on February 3 in Memphis with Papa Charlie McCoy to record 'Cool Drink of Water Blues' and 'Big Road Blues'. Several more titles followed that year. In December 1929 Johnson recorded a couple hands more of additional songs, after which he held no further sessions, though he played accomplished guitar locally in Jackson where he was popular for the next quarter century. He died ion November 1, 1956, of heart attack. Compositions credited to Tommy Johnson documented at australiancharts and keeponliving.

Tommy Johnson 1928

   Alcohol and Jake Blues

  Big Road Blues

   Bye Bye Blues

   Canned Heat Blues

   Cool Drink Of Water Blues

   Fat Mama Blues



Birth of the Blues: Carl Martin

Carl Martin

Source: Mandolin Cafe


Born in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, in 1906, Carl Martin first recorded in Knoxville on April 3 of 1928 ('Vine Street Rag' and 'Knox County Stomp'. That was with Howard Armstrong (violin) and Roland Martin (guitar) in the Tennessee Trio, he performing on string bass. His next recordings weren't until six tracks on June 14, 1934, in Chicago with Tampa Red for Bluebird, those his first on guitar: 'Grievin' and Worryin' Blues', 'Mean Mistreater Blues', et al. Come October 27 he held his first name session in Chicago: 'You Can Go Your Way' and 'Kid Man Blues'. Martin played fiddle and mandolin as well, working largely in Chicago in a variety of genres. He died in Pontiac, Michigan, on May 10, 1979, 73 years of age.

Carl Martin   1934

   Kid Man Blues

   You Can Go Your Way

Carl Martin   1935

   Crow Jane

     Composition: See The History of Crow Jane Blues

   Farewell to You Baby

   Good Morning Judge


  Born in Virginia in 1906, Delta bluesman Kansas Joe McCoy (older brother by four years of Papa Charlie McCoy, Joe's favored blues accompanist on guitar and mandolin) made his debut recordings on November 2, 1928, as a backup guitarist on six tracks for minstrel singer, Alec Johnson: 'Miss Meal Cramp Blues', 'Sister Maud Mule', et al. In 1929 he married Memphis Minnie with whom he issued several tracks in 1929 for Columbia: 'When the Levee Breaks'/'That Will Be Alright' and 'Goin' Back to Texas'/'Frisco Town'. Titles ensued to 1934, they migrating to Chicago together but divorcing in '34. McCoy then formed the Harlem Hamfats with Papa Charlie McCoy in Chicago, issuing numerous tracks from '36 into 1938. 1940 saw McCoy putting together Big Joe and His Washboard Band, also with Papa Charlie, recording numerous titles in Chicago from December that year ('I Love You Baby', 'I'm Through with You', et al) to as late as January 1942 ('Got to Go Blues', 'I'll Get You Off My Mind', et al). He next formed Big Joe and His Rhythm with Papa Charlie, issuing titles on Bluebird in '42 and '45. McCoy is said to have also recorded as Bill Wither, Georgia Pine Boy and Hallelujah Joe during his career. He died young of heart disease/stroke at age 44 in Chicago on January 28, 1950. His younger brother, Papa Charlie, followed half a year later on July 26, only 40 years of age.

Kansas Joe McCoy   1928

   Sundown Blues

     Composition: Alec Johnson

Kansas Joe McCoy   1936

   Weed Smoker's Dreams

     With the Harlem Hamfats

Kansas Joe McCoy   1938

   The Candy Man

     With Rosetta Howard & the Harlem Hamfats

   Don't Start No Stuff

     With the Harlem Hamfats


Birth of the Blues: Kansas Joe McCoy

Kansas Joe McCoy

Source: Discogs

  Born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1909, Papa Charlie McCoy (not to be mistaken for country artist, Charlie McCoy) was a guitar and mandolin player who composed such as 'Times Ain't What They Used to Be' and 'Too Long' in 1932. His first record release occurred in 1928. sundayblues wants Papa Charlie backing Rosie Mae Moore in February with Tommy Johnson and Ishmon Bracey on 'School Girl Blues' and 'Staggering Blues'. (See American Music as well.) Papa Charlie is thought to backed Tommy Johnson on the same date (February 3) on 'Cool Drink of Water Blues', 'Big Road Blues', 'Bye Bye Blues' and 'Maggie Campbell Blues'. The next day found him backing Ishmon Bracey on 'Saturday Blues' and 'Left Alone Blues' (See AM). Come August 31 for four more tracks with Bracey like 'Brown Mama Blues' and 'Four Day Blues'. On November 2 that year Papa Charlie backed Alec Johnson on four tracks with Bo Carter and his older brother by four years, Kansas Joe McCoy. That was for Columbia to include 'Miss Meal Cramp Blues', 'Sister Maude Mule' and 'Mysterious Coon'. That same month he backed Mary Butler on 'Bungalow Blues', 'Mary Blues', 'Electric Chair Blues' and 'Mad Dog Blues'. It is thought that Butler may be Rosie Mae (Rose) Moore per McCoy's first recordings above. He would record mandolin with Bo Carter and Walter Vinson, et al, as the Mississippi Mud Steppers  ('Vicksburg Stomp', 'Sunset Waltz', etc.) and the Mississippi Blacksnakes ('Blue Sky Blues', 'Grind So Fine', etc.). In 1929 Papa Charlie played mandolin with Carter and Vinson as the Jackson Blue Boys on 'Hidin’ On Me' and 'Sweet Alberta', discogs having that issued in March. McCoy recorded variously in Memphis and Jackson until his brother, Kansas Joe, left for Chicago in 1930 with Memphis Minnie, Papa Charlie following as Joe's main accompanist. Thomas A Dorsey backed Charlie's composition, 'Too Long, in 1932. In 1936 Charlie and Joe would form the Harlem Hamfats in Chicago, recording numerously. Charlie also backed Kansas Joe in Big Joe and His Washboard Band (recording 1940-42) and Big Joe and His Rhythm (recording in '42 and '45). Papa Charlie had served in the Army during World War II. His brother, Joe, had volunteered, but was unable to serve due to a heart condition. During the latter years of his life Charlie was drawn away from music as he succumbed to neurosyphilis, dying on July 26, 1950, of paralytic brain disease, that six months after the death of brother, Joe, by stroke. Among others with whom Papa Charlie recorded were Peetie Wheatstraw and Big Bill Broonzy.

Papa Charlie McCoy   1928

   Staggering Blues

     With Rosie Mae Moore

     Guitar: Walter Vinson   Violin: Bo Carter

Papa Charlie McCoy   1930

   Blue Heaven Blues

     Guitar: Walter Vinson   Violin: Bo Carter

   Your Valves Need Grinding

     Violin: Bo Carter

Papa Charlie McCoy   1931

   It Still Ain't No Good

     Guitar: Walter Vinson   Violin: Bo Carter

Papa Charlie McCoy   1932

   Too Long

     Piano: Georgia Tom Dorsey

Papa Charlie McCoy   1934

   Candy Man Blues

     Piano: Chuck Segar?

Papa Charlie McCoy   1936

   Weed Smoker's Dreams

     With the Harlem Hamfats

     Composition: Joe McCoy


Birth of the Blues: Papa Charlie McCoy

Papa Charlie McCoy

Source: Record Fiend


Born Hudson Woodbridge in Smithville, Georgia, in 1904, slide guitarist, Tampa Red, was raised in Tampa, FL, by his aunt and grandmother upon the death of parents as a child. Known since childhood as Hudson Whittaker, mentions of compositions by Whittaker below thus refer to Tampa Red, the name he assumed upon moving to Chicago, there commencing his career as an accompanist for Ma Rainey. His first recorded title is thought to be his unaccredited composition, 'Through Train Blues', (Paramount 12685) circa May 1928. He recorded the hokum blues title, 'It's Tight Like That' (Hudson Whittaker/Thomas Dorsey), in a couple of unissued sessions prior to that of October 24, released with 'Grievin' Me Blues' (Vocalion 1216). Those were duets with Thomas Dorsey at piano. Red and Dorsey recorded numerously together into the early thirties, putting down nigh 90 tracks, Dorsey often using pseudonyms like Georgia Tom. In the meantime Red otherwise recorded such as 'Good Gordon Gin' and 'Down the Alley' (Vocalion 1254) on October 31, 1928, with his Hokum Jug Band. (Hokum is a blues subgenre referring to risqué lyrics. Both Dorsey and Red performed with transvestite vaudeville performer, Frankie Half Pint Jaxon, as the Hokum Boys and the Black Hillbillies. They recorded such as 'It’s Red Hot' and 'My Daddy Rocks Me with One Steady Roll' in 1929 and 'Kunjine Baby' in 1930.) A highly regarded guitarist, Red was a favorite session musician, contributing to the recording of about 335 tracks during his career. Signing on with Victor in 1934, he remained with that label until 1953, the year his wife died. Upon his wife's passing Red began drinking (having become pretty thirsty by that age). Such that one of the main figures in early blues was destitute by the time he died on March 19, 1981, in Chicago. Recordings by Red with songwriting credits at australiancharts. More Tampa Red under Big Maceo Merriweather. Per 1930 below, the Black Hillbillies consist of Red, Frankie Half Pint Jaxon and Thomas Dorsey.

Tampa Red   1928

  Daddy Goodbye Blues

      With Ma Rainey & Georgia Tom Dorsey

      Composition: Ma Rainey

  Grievin' Me Blues

      Composition: Thomas Dorsey

   How Long Blues

       Hokum Jug Band   Vocal: Frankie Half Pint Jaxon

        Composition: Leroy Carr

  It's Tight Like That

        Composition: Hudson Whittaker/Thomas Dorsey

Tampa Red   1929

  Denver Blues

       Composition: Hudson Whittaker/Tampa Red

   My Daddy Rocks Me with One Steady Roll

        Hokum Jug Band   Vocal: Frankie Half Pint Jaxon

        Composition: J. Berni Barbour

  Whiskey Drinking Blues

      Vocal: Jenny Pope

Tampa Red   1930

  Kunjine Baby

     The Black Hillbillies

       Composition: Thomas Dorsey

Tampa Red   1932

  You Can't Get That Stuff No More

       Composition: Hudson Whittaker

Tampa Red   1940

  Don't You Lie to Me

       Composition: Hudson Whittaker

  It Hurts Me Too

       Composition: Hudson Whittaker

Tampa Red   1942

  Let Me Play With Your Poodle

      Drums: Richard Snags Jones

      Piano: Big Maceo Merriweather

      Composition: Hudson Whittaker


Birth of the Blues: Tampa Red

Tampa Red

Source: Short & Sweet

  Curley Weaver had been born in Covington, Georgia, in 1906. He was a popular street musician in Atlanta together with his friend Robert Hicks (Barbecue Bob), and it was Hicks who got Weaver his first recording contract in 1928, laying out 'Sweet Petunia' and 'No No Blues' (Columbia 14386-D) on October 28 in Atlanta. Weaver next recorded four tracks in Long Island City (NYC) circa May 26, 1929, with Eddie Mapp (whom he had known in Atlanta) on harmonica: 'Dirty Deal Blues', 'It's the Best Stuff Yet', 'No No Blues' and 'Ta Ta Blues'. In 1930 four titles went down with the Georgia Cotton Pickers including Barbecue Bob and Buddy Moss in early December: 'Diddle-Da-Diddle', 'She's Coming Back Some Cold Rainy Day', 'I'm On My Way Down Home' and 'She Looks So Good'. 1931 saw sessions with Ruth (Mary) Willis and Clarence Moore. It was tracks with both Ruth Willis, Fred McMullen and Buddy Moss in 1933, also recording name titles like 'No No Blues' and 'Early Morning Blues'. Others with whom Weaver recorded include Blind Willie McTell (such as with Ruth Willis in 1931 above) whom he backed numerously in the thirties. McTell supported Weaver's 'My Baby's Gone' and 'Ticket Agent' as late as circa October 1949. American Music documents Weaver in a last session in May 1950 with the Pig 'N' Whistle Band: 'Love Changing Blues' and 'Talkin' to You Mama'. He died of uremia, only 56 years of age, on September 20, 1962, in Covington, Georgia, while working for the railroad. Titles below are listed by recording years. Per 1928 'No No Blues', the song is said to have been taught to Weaver by his mother. Lucille Bogan had recorded 'Sweet Petunia' the year before. Per 1933, secondhandsongs has 'Some Cold Rainy Day' composed by Tampa Red for Bertha Chippie Hill in 1928.

Curley Weaver   1928

   No No Blues

      Composition: Traditional

   Sweet Petunia

Curley Weaver   1933

  Birmingham Gambler

   Dirty Mistreater

      Composition: Sonny Terry (per allmusic)

   Empty Room Blues

  Some Cold Rainy Day

      Vocal: Ruth Willis

   Who Stole De Lock

      The Georgia Browns

      With Fred McMullen & Buddy Moss


Birth of the Blues: Curley Weaver

Curley Weaver

Source: Wikipedia

Birth of the Blues: Robert Wilkins

Reverend Robert Wilkins

Source: bdla

Reverend Robert Wilkins was born in 1896 in Hernando, Mississippi. Some time in the twenties Wilkins formed a jug band that became popular, appearing on Memphis radio in 1927. American Music has him attending his first sessions in Memphis on September 7, 1928. Neither of two parts of 'I Told My Rider' were issued. Both parts of 'Rolling Stone' saw record stores as Victor 21741. Said to have become disgusted and disheartened with the world (BTDT), Wilkins turned away from secular blues toward gospel in the thirties, even becoming an ordained Pentecostal minister. He was rediscovered during the blues revival in the sixties, assisted by a performance at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1964. Wilkins died on May 26, 1987, in Memphis, survived by his son, Memphis blues musician, Reverend John Wilkins. A partial list of Wilkins' secular compositions. A partial list of Wilkins' gospel compositions. Per below, 'Prodigal Son' ('64) is Wilkin's gospel version of 'That's No Way to Get Along' ('30). Wilkins would earn a shiny dime or so upon the song getting covered in 1968 by the Rolling Stones. All titles below are thought to be written by Wilkins except as indicated.

Robert Wilkins   1928

   Rolling Stone   Part 1

Robert Wilkins   1929

   That's No Way to Get Along

  Falling Down Blues

      Composition: Furry Lewis   1927

      Lyrics reworked by Wilkins

Robert Wilkins   1930

   Get Away Blues

   That's No Way to Get Along

Reverend Robert Wilkins   1964

   Just a Closer Walk With Thee

      Composition: Traditional

  Prodigal Son

  What Do You Think About Jesus

Reverend Robert Wilkins   1968

  Holy Ghost Train

  In Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down

  Old Time Religion

      Composition: Traditional



Birth of the Blues: Willie Brown

Willie Brown

Source: Ecstatic Presentation


Born in Clarksdale, Mississippi in 1900, Delta bluesman Willie Brown married guitarist, Josie Mills, at age ten or eleven (consummation unknown). He is thought to have first recorded for Paramount in August 1930 with Son House, they backing Louise Johnson on 'All Night Long Blues', 'Long Ways From Home' and 'On the Wall'. American Music (AM) also has Brown recording a number of solo works sometime that month, among them 'Grandma Blues' and 'Sorry Blues'. AM also finds him on several titles with Charlie Patton in August 1930: 'Going to Move to Alabama', 'Moon Going Down', 'Dry Well Blues' and 'Bird Nest Bound'. It is possible, however, that Brown recorded even earlier on September 25th, 1929: 'Rowdy Blues', below, is credited to Kid Bailey. Brown may be either the backup guitarist or using 'Kid Bailey' as a pseudonym. It remains moot if Kid Bailey was another Delta bluesman or Willie Brown himself. There are few titles by Brown himself as he worked largely as a backup guitarist. He died of heart disease on December 30, 1952 in Mississippi. All titles below were composed by Brown.

Kid Bailey   1929

   Rowdy Blues

Willie Brown   1930

  Future Blues

   M & O Blues

Willie Brown   1942

   Ragged and Dirty



Birth of the Blues: Sleepy John Estes

Sleepy John Estes

Source: Wid's Help Desk

Born in Nutbush, Tennessee in 1899, guitarist Sleepy John Estes moved to Brownsville in 1915 where he began performing in that vicinity with mandolin player, James Rachell, in 1919. Estes' debut recording was ten years later with Rachell in Memphis per an unissued track for Victor titled 'Broken Hearted' on September 17, 1929 (eventually issued in 1975 by RCA). That was in the Three J's Jug Band with pianist, Jab Jones. That same configuration recorded Estes' first name issue a week later on the 24th: 'The Girl I Love She Got Long Curly Hair'. American Music has 'Diving Duck Blues' during the same session with Rachell and Johnny Hardge on piano. Both were Estes' compositions and issued on the same plate as Victor V38549. Estes was best known for his long musical relationship with harmonica player, Hammie Nixon. They had traveled Arkansas and Missouri together from 1924 to '27, though didn't record together until 1935. Stefan Wirz (American Music) has them on four tracks for Decca on July 9 that year: 'Down South Blues', 'Stop That Thing' (Nixon/Estes), 'Someday Baby Blues' Nixon/Estes) and 'Who's Been Tellin' You Buddy Brown Blues' (Nixon/Estes). Among others with whom Estes recorded was Robert Nighthawk as Robert McCoy in June of 1940 for Decca. keeponliving has them on six tracks like Estes' compositions, 'Drop Down' and 'Jailhouse Blues'. Estes wasn't all that good with a guitar, but he was popular for his vocals until his death of stroke on June 5, 1977. Among other of his compositions were 'Special Agent (Railroad Police Blues)' ('38), 'Lawyer Clark Blues' ('41), 'Little Laura Blues ('41), 'Working Man Blues' ('41) and ''Vassie Williams' Blues' ('62, issued '65). A more complete list of compositions at discogs. See also australiancharts 1, 2. Titles below were composed by Estes except otherwise noted.

Sleepy John Estes   1929

   Diving Duck Blues

      Mandolin: Yank Rachell

   Someday Baby Blues

      Harmonica: Hammie Nixon

Sleepy John Estes   1930

   Street Car Blues

Sleepy John Estes   1935

   Stop That Thing

      Harmonica: Hammie Nixon

Sleepy John Estes   1937

   I Ain't Gonna Be Worried No More

      Harmonica: Hammie Nixon

      Composition: Nixon/Estes

Sleepy John Estes   1938

   Everybody Ought to Make a Change

   Liquor Store Blues

Sleepy John Estes   1964

   Black Mattie



Birth of the Blues: Memphis Minnie

Memphis Minnie

SSource: Efemerides Musicales

Born in 1897 in Louisiana, Memphis Minnie (Lizzie Douglas) left for Memphis, Tennessee, Beale Street in particular, at age thirteen (1910), whence she began singing and playing guitar on the streets while working as a prostitute. After a time she was able to join the Ringling Brothers Circus as a performing musician. Eventually returning to Beale Street, she married Joe McCoy in 1929 with whom she made her first recordings of joint compositions on June 18 for Columbia: 'I Want That', 'That Will Be Alright ', 'Goin' Back to Texas', et al. Compositions to which she contributed in 1930 are listed at DAHR. After Minnie's divorce from McCoy in 1935 she continued to record on her own and toured the South. The forties would find her performing in Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis and Memphis until her retirement from the music business in 1957. She suffered her first stroke three years later, which put her in a wheelchair. Her second stroke occurred the next year. Her third stroke twelve years later killed her on August 6, 1973, while living in a nursing home. Guitarist and singer, Bonnie Raitt, purchased her headstone in 1996. All titles below are thought to have been written by Minnie (w Joe McCoy in '29). Other compositions by Minnie at australiancharts and discogs.

Memphis Minnie   1929

   Frisco Town

      With Kansas Joe McCoy

   When The Levee Breaks

      With Kansas Joe McCoy

Memphis Minnie   1930

   New Bumble Bee

   Plymouth Rock Blues

Memphis Minnie   1931

   Crazy Cryin' Blues

  Pickin' the Blues

Memphis Minnie   1934

   Drunken Barrelhouse Blues

Memphis Minnie   1935

   Doctor Doctor Blues

Memphis Minnie   1936

   I'm a Bad Luck Woman

Memphis Minnie   1938

   I'd Rather See Him Dead

Memphis Minnie   1940

   Ma Rainey

   Nothin' In Ramblin'

Memphis Minnie   1941

   I Am Sailin'

   Me and My Chauffer Blues

Memphis Minnie   1944

   Love Come and Go



Birth of the Blues: Charlie Patton

Charley Patton

Source: Peoples

Charlie Patton was a Mississippi Delta blues guitarist born on an uncertain date between 1881 and 1891. Though writing blues songs as early as 1910 he didn't record anything until June 14, 1929, sixteen sides for Paramount Records in Richmond, Indiana, 'Pony Blues'/'Banty Rooster Blues' his first (Paramount 12792). Parts 1 and 2 of 'Prayer of Death' were as Elder J.J. Hadley. Patton married blues singer Bertha Lee in 1930. (She is featured on 'Yellow Bee' below.) Their union, however, would be a brief one, as Patton died an early death four years later on April 28, 1934, of mitral valve disorder. His headstone was purchased by Creedence Clearwater vocalist, John Fogerty, in 1990. A biography in detail at Elijah Wald. A discography with compositional notes at keeponliving. See also 'Charly Blues Masterworks Volume 13'. All titles below were composed by Patton except Bertha Lee Pate's 'Yellow Bee' in 1934.

Charlie Patton   1929

   Pony Blues

   Rattlesnake Blues

   Shake It and Break It

Charlie Patton   1930

   Moon Goin' Down

Charlie Patton   1934

   '34 Blues

   Revenue Man Blues

   Yellow Bee



T-Bone Walker (Aaron Thibeaux Walker) was among the first musicians to employ the electric guitar. (Others were Alvino Rey, Charlie Christian and George Barnes.) Born in Linden, Texas, in 1910, Walker began his recording career in 1929 for Columbia with 'Trinity River Blues' and 'Wichita Falls Blues' (14506-D). Though largely a blues artist he recorded with a dose of jazz musicians as well and, like blues guitarist, Muddy Waters, would come to great prestige in the development of rock and roll via rhythm and blues. Walker was one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century in any capacity, among the most highly regarded guitarists with whom to work until his first stroke in 1974. He would suffer a second stroke in 1975, after which bronchial pneumonia would kill him. Among the numerous with whom Walker had recorded during his career were Les Hite, Freddie Slack, Marl Young, Ray Charles, Jim Wynn, Helen Humes, Walter Bishop Jr, Jack McVea, Al Killian, Dave Bartholomew, TJ Fowler, Memphis Slim, Jimmy Witherspoon, Norman Granz, Oscar Peterson, Big Joe Turner and Jay McShann. An extensive list of Walker's compositions from 1929 to 1950 at discogs. An extensive list of Walker's compositions from 1940 to 1954 at discogs. Other of his recordings with songwriting credits at australiancharts. More T-Bone Walker in A Birth of Rock 1. All titles below were written by Walker except as noted.

T-Bone Walker   1929

   Trinity River Blues

   Wichita Falls Blues

T-Bone Walker   1940

   T-Bone Blues

      Composition: T-Bone Walker/Les Hite

T-Bone Walker   1942

   Mean Old World

T-Bone Walker   1946

   Bobby Sox Blues

      Composition: Dootsie Williams

T-Bone Walker   1947

   Call It Stormy Monday

T-Bone Walker   1948

   West Side Baby

      Composition: Dallas Bartley/John Cameron


Birth of the Blues: T-Bone Walker

T-Bone Walker

Source: Duduki

  Born in Lovejoy's Station, Georgia, in 1896 (perhaps 1901 per census data), Kokomo Arnold (James Arnold) was a left-handed slide guitarist who had migrated in the twenties to Buffalo, New York, to work on a farm, then Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to work in the steel industry, then Chicago in 1929 to bootleg. Playing guitar the meanwhile, he first recorded as Gitfiddle Jim in Memphis, TN, on May 17, 1930 for Victor: 'Paddlin' Blues' and 'Rainy Night Blues' (Victor 23268). Between 1934 and 1938 Arnold recorded 88 sides for Decca Records, American Music (AM) commencing that list with five tracks on January 15 like 'Old Black Cat Blues', 'Sissy Man Blues' (Decca 7050), et al. A number of those included titles by Peetie Wheatstraw whom Arnold backed or was supported by from early 1936 to November 1937, beginning with a session in NYC on February 18 per 'When I Get My Bonus' and 'Coon Can Shorty' (Decca 7159). AM has Arnold backing the Honey Dripper (Roosevelt Sykes) for the first time on the same date: 'Dirty Mother for You' and 'Jet Black Snake'. AM has Arnold recording as late as sessions on the 11th and 12th of May, 1938, with five tracks on the latter date like 'Midnight Blues' and 'Bad Luck Blues'. Arnold then quit the music industry to work in a Chicago factory. By the time Arnold was rediscovered in the early sixties his world had too changed to want to reenter the business, though he did make a few Chicago appearances. Arnold died of heart attack in Chicago on November 8, 1968. Compositions by Arnold are noted on compilations at allmusic: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Compositions noted on compilations at discogs: 1, 2. Research songwriting credits at australiancharts as well. All titles below were written by Arnold except as noted.

Gitfiddle Jim   1930

   Paddlin' Blues

      Composition: Harry Woods

  Rainy Night Blues

Kokomo Arnold   1934

   Back Door Blues

   Back to the Woods

   Milk Cow Blues

   Old Black Cat Blues

  Old Original Kokomo Blues

   Sagefield Woman Blues

   Sissy Man Blues

Kokomo Arnold   1935

   Chain Gang Blues

   Lonesome Southern Blues

   Monday Morning Blues

   Slop Jar Blues

Kokomo Arnold   1936

   My Gal's Been Foolin' Me

Kokomo Arnold   1937

   Grandpa Got Drunk

   Head Cutting Blues

Kokomo Arnold   1938

   Bad Luck Blues


Birth of the Blues: Kokomo Arnold

Kokomo Arnold

Source: zigzag5627

Birth of the Blues: Son House

Son House

Source: Geat Song


Born in Lyon, Mississippi, in 1902, guitarist Son House (Eddie James House Jr.) first recorded on May 28, 1930, for Paramount: 'My Black Mama', 'Preachin' the Blues', 'Dry Spell Blues', et al. He taped recordings for Eddie Lomax and the Library of Congress in 1941-42. He was accompanied by mandolin player, Fiddlin' Joe Martin with mouth harp player, Leroy Williams. House remained an influential Delta musician until 1943 when he moved to New York and quit the music business. Two decades later he would revive his career, play various venues as a folk singer (Newport Jazz Festival '64) and record several albums. He toured to Copenhagen, Denmark, with Skip James in November of 1967. House died of larynx cancer in 1988.  Compositions documented at keeponliving to be by House. House composed all titles below except the melody to 'Mississippi County Farm Blues', that borrowed from Blind Lemon Jefferson's 'See That My Grave Is Kept Clean'.

Son House   1930

   Clarksdale Moan

   Dry Spell Blues Part 1

   Dry Spell Blues Part 2

   Mississippi County Farm Blues

   Preachin' the Blues Part 1

   Preachin' the Blues Part 2

Son House   1941

   Walking Blues



Birth of the Blues: Charley Jordan

Charley Jordan

Source: Discogs


Thought born on January 1, 1890, next to nothing is known about Charley Jordan but that he took a bullet to the spine in 1928 while bootlegging, thus used crutches. American Music has him recording his first several tracks circa June, 1930, in Chicago: 'Keep It Clean', 'Big Four Blues', 'Raidin' Squad Blues', 'Hunkie Tunkie Blues', et al. Jordan and Peetie Wheatstraw backed each other on numerous recordings from 1930 to 1937. He may be the guitarist for vocalist, Jimmy Oden, with Roosevelt Sykes at piano on October 29, 1937, recording 'The Road to Ruin' and 'Thick and Thin'. Having also performed with such as Casey Bill Weldon, Memphis Minnie and Big Joe Williams, Jordan died on November 15, 1954. Partial list of compositions credited to Jordan. He is thought to have written titles below.

Charley Jordan   1930

   Keep It Clean

   Running Mad Blues

Charley Jordan   1931

    Cheating Blues



Birth of the Blues: Buddy Moss

Buddy Moss

Source: New Georgia Encyclopedia

Born in Jewell, Georgia, Buddy Moss  was sixteen when he began recording blues on the 7th and 8th of December, 1930, in Atlanta with Curley Weaver and Robert Hicks (Barbecue Bob) as the Georgia Cotton Pickers: 'Diddle-Da-Diddle', 'I'm On My Way Down Home', et al. A number of unissued tracks with Weaver and Fred McMullen followed in NYC in January of 1933, ensued by numerous issues recorded variously between those three that year, including as the Georgia Browns on January 19: 'It Must Have Been Her', 'Who Stole De Lock?', et al. Moss' first solo sides had already gone down on January 17: 'Cold Country Blues' and 'Prowling Woman'. Moss' career was halted in 1935 by a six-year prison term for shooting his wife and killing her. Upon release he made a number of recordings in NYC with Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry, such as titles on October 22, 1941, to include 'You Need a Woman' (others on that date unissued). Moss continued performing as he took up various menial jobs for the next couple decades. His career saw revival in 1964 upon a backstage meeting with Josh White at one of the latter's concerts. Moss died in Atlanta on October 19, 1984.

Buddy Moss   1933

   B & O Blues

   Back to My Used to Be

Buddy Moss   1934

   Undertaker Blues

Buddy Moss   1935

   Can't Use You No More

Buddy Moss   1963

   Cold Rainy Day

   In the Evening


  Peetie Wheatstraw (born William Bunch in 1902 in either Arkansas or Ripley, Tennessee) began his career in East Saint Louis, Illinois, in the latter twenties. American Music begins his discography on September 13, 1930, with Spider Carter: 'Please Please Blues' (Brunswick 7188). Wheatstraw spread along 'Tennessee Peaches Blues' and 'Four O'Clock in the Morning' (Vocalion 1552, Vocalion 04443) the same day with Neckbones (J.D. Short?). Wheatstraw's first major recording partner was Charley Jordan, their debut session together likely Wheatstraw's next on September 19, 1930: 'School Days' and 'So Soon' (Vocalion 1569). Jordan backed Wheatstraw numerously in '31, '34 and '35. Another of Wheatstraw's major collaborators was Kokomo Arnold, they backing each other on numerous recordings in 1936 and '37. AM has their initial session on February 18, 1936, in NYC for Wheatstraw's 'When I Get My Bonus' and 'Coon Can Shorty' (Decca 7159). Titles by Arnold to which Wheatstraw contributed were such as 'Running Drunk Again' in October '36 and 'Shine On, Moon' in November '37. Though Wheatstraw's recording career ran only eleven years, he put down an estimated 161 titles, few other pre-war blues musicians more prolific (Tampa Red, Big Bill Broonzy, Bumble Bee Slim, Lonnie Johnson). Wheatstraw's last known recordings were on November 25, 1941: 'Bring Me Flowers While I’m Living', 'Mister Livingood', 'Separation Day Blues', et al. He died at only age 39 when the driver of a car he was in collided into a standing freight train, after which he drank no more. List of recordings by Wheatstraw with songwriting credits. Titles below are thought to be Wheatstraw's own compositions.

Peetie Wheatstraw   1930

   Four O'clock In the Morning

Peetie Wheatstraw   1931

   Devil's Son In Law

Peetie Wheatstraw   1939

   You Can't Stop Me From Drinking

Peetie Wheatstraw   1941

   Bring Me Flowers While I'm Living

   Mister Livingood


Birth of the Blues: Peetie Wheatstraw

Peetie Wheatstraw

Source: Fractal

Birth of the Blues: Bukka White

Bukka White

Source: Find a Grave

Born in 1909, guitarist Bukka White (aka Washington White) began his career playing fiddle at square dances. He first recorded fourteen tracks as Washington White for Victor Records on May 26, 1930, four issued: 'The Promise True and Grand' w 'I Am in the Heavenly Way' (Victor V-38615) and 'The New 'Frisco Train' w 'The Panama Limited' (Victor 23295). But the Depression was coming, during which years he performed in the Mississippi region, also boxing professionally to make his way. In the summer of 1937 he wounded a man in the thigh with a firearm. He jumped bail and fled to Chicago where he made his next recordings on September 2: 'Pinebluff Arkansas' and 'Shake ‘Em On Down' (Vocalion 03711, Columbia 30139). He is said to have been apprehended again mid-session, those titles issued as he was doing time at Mississippi State Penitentiary (aka Parchman Farm) until his release in 1940. Big Bill Broonzy covered 'Shake ‘Em On Down' in 1938. While at Parchman White recorded a couple titles for Alan Lomax and the Library of Congress: 'Sic 'Em Dogs On' and 'Po' Boy'. Upon release from prison White headed back to Chicago to record 12 sides on the 7th and 8th of March, 1940, such as 'When Can I Change My Clothes?' w 'High Fever Blues' (Vocalion 05489) and 'Parchman Farm Blues' w 'District Attorney Blues' (OKeh 05683). White then vanished to Memphis to work in a factory. But in 1961 Bob Dylan recorded one his songs, 'Fixin' to Die', on his premier album, upon which White's career finally took off. (John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, with Eric Clapton in the band, would record 'Parchman Farm Blues' in 1966.) White performed various venues like universities and festivals, including Carnegie Hall in '65, until his death of cancer on February 26, 1977. Lists of compositions by White at discogs 1, 2, 3, 4. See also australiancharts. All titles below are thought to be composed by White. Dates represent recording years.

Bukka White   1930

   Promise True and Grand

Bukka White   1937

   Shake Em' On Down

Bukka White   1939

   Sic 'Em Dogs On

Bukka White   1940

   Black Train Blues

   Bukka's Jitterbug Swing

   Fixin' to Die Blues

   Good Gin Blues

   I Am In the Heavenly Way

   Parchman Farm Blues

   Special Streamline

Bukka White   1963

  Boogie 'Til DuBuque

  Drunken Leroy Blues

  Single Man Blues

Bukka White   1968

   School Learning

Bukka White   1969

  Christmas Eve Blues

  Columbus Mississippi Blues

   Sad Day Blues


  Geeshie Wiley is another of the more ghostly figures in early blues, nigh everything known about her speculative. Possibly born in either Louisiana or Natchez, MS, circa 1908. Steve Leggett (allmusic, itunes) has her in a possible early relationship with Papa Charlie McCoy, she also working with a medicine show in Jackson, MS, sometime in the twenties. Geeshie may have married Casey Bill Weldon following his divorce from Memphis Minnie. It was March of 1930 in Houston when she and Elvie Thomas (L.V. Thomas August 7, 1891 – May 20, 1979) traveled to Grafton, Wisconsin, to record four titles: 'Last Kind Words Blues', 'Skinny Leg Blues', 'Motherless Child Blues', 'Over To My House'. 'Pick Poor Robin Clean' and 'Eagles On a Half' followed the next year in March of 1931. Those six sides were released on three 78s per Paramount 12951, Paramount 12977 and Paramount 13074. All titles were composed by Wiley with Thomas collaborating on 'Over to My House' and 'Pick Poor Robin Clean'. 'Motherless Child Blues' is thought to be Thomas' composition in collaboration with Wiley. TThomas and Wiley disappeared into obscurity after those sessions, though they may have performed together as late as 1933 in Oklahoma. Thomas later turned up in Houston, singing in a choir at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Acres Homes, a suburb of Houston. Titles below represent both her and Wiley's whole discography.

Elvie Thomas   1930

   Motherless Child Blues

Geeshie Wiley   1930

   Last Kind Words

  Over to My House

   Skinny Legs

Geeshie Wiley   1931

   Eagles On a Half

  Pick Poor Robin Clean


Birth of the Blues: Geeshie Wiley

Geeshie Wiley

Source: Sunday Blues


  Bunble Bee Slim (Amos Easton) was about fifteen (1920) when he left home in Brunswick, Georgia, with the Ringling Brothers Circus. Though he was largely known as a vocalist, he played guitar (on such as 'Sloppy Drunk Blues') as well. Cub Koda (allmusic) has Slim in Indianapolis in 1938 with Scrapper Blackwell and Leroy Carr. By twists and turns Slim eventually made his first six recordings in Grafton, Wisconsin, in October 1931: 'Yo Yo String Blues', 'Stumblin' Block Blues', 'No Woman No Nickel', 'Chain Gang Bound', 'Rough Rugged Road Blues' and 'Honey Bee Blues'. Those were issued on three 78s per Paramount 13102, Paramount 13109 and Paramount 13132. Slim signed up with Vocalion the next year, commencing a career that would see him record above 150 tracks in the next five years, he also a favorite with Decca and Bluebird. Come 1937 he headed back to Georgia, whence begins a gap in his recording career, then relocated to Los Angeles in the early forties where recorded several titles in 1951 like 'Strange Angel', 'Lonesome Trail Blues', 'Lonesome Old Feeling', and 'Ida Red', issued per Specialty 410 and Fidelity 3004. Slim released the album, 'Back In Town', in 1962. He continued playing in clubs until his death in Los Angeles on June 8, 1968. Among early compositions credited to Amos Easton or Bumble Bee Slim per the year they were recorded:

'Chain Gang Bound'
'Rough Rugged Road Blues'
'Burned Down Mill'
'Sad and Lonesome'
'Sail on Little Girl'
'I Keep On Drinking'
'When the Sun Goes Down'
'Big Six'
'Green Country Gal'
'Hard Rocks in My Bed'

'New Bricks in My Pillow'
'New Orleans Stop Time'
'Ramblin' With That Woman'
'Right From Wrong'
'Rough Treatment'
'When the Music Sounds Good'

'I'm Having So Much Trouble'

See also compositions 1931-37 at discogs and  compositions 1934-35 at allmusic. Concerning 'Yo Yo String Blues' below, both Barbecue Bob and Blind Lemon Jefferson had recorded similarly titled 'Yo Yo Blues' in 1929. Titles below which may or may not be composed by Slim (credits unfound) are marked with an asterisk (*). The rest belong to Slim except as indicated.

Bumble Bee Slim   1931

   No Woman No Nickel

   Yo Yo String Blues

Bumble Bee Slim   1935

  How Long How Long Blues

       Composition: Leroy Carr   1928

   Lemon Squeezing Blues*

   Sloppy Drunk Blues

       Composition: Leroy Carr   1930

   Smokey Mountain Blues*

Bumble Bee Slim   1936

   Meet Me at the Landing

   Meet Me in the Bottom

   Slave Man Blues

   When Somebody Loses

Bumble Bee Slim   1937

   Going Back to Florida

   Rising River Blues

   Sometimes Blues*

   Woman For Every Man

Bumble Bee Slim   1951

   Ida Red

   Strange Angel

Bumble Bee Slim   1962

   Midnight Special

       Album: 'Back in Town'

       Composition: Traditional

   Wake Up in the Morning*

       Album: 'Back in Town'


Birth of the Blues: Bumble Bee Slim

Bumble Bee Slim

Source: Blues Keeper

Birth of the Blues: Skip James

Skip James

Source: WMFU

Delta blues musician Skip James (Nehemiah Curtis James) earned a meager living, alike many early blues musicians, busking on the streets. Born near Bentonia, Mississippi, in 1902, he first recorded for Paramount Records in Grafton, Wisconsin, circa 1931. American Music has him putting down 18 sides that month, beginning with 'Cherry Ball Blues' and 'Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues' (Paramount 13065). Those recordings sold poorly, James to fade into obscurity during the Depression. His life for the next three decades is largely undocumented, though Wikipedia has him working in the ministry at times unknown. He apparently continued playing, as he was rediscovered in 1964 by a few blues enthusiasts who found him as able as ever, he to perform at the Newport Jazz Festival that year. Also starting to record again, he issued his first album, 'Greatest of the Delta Blues Singers', in 1965, all titles his own compositions. His rekindled career, however, would be brief, as he died five years later in Philadelphia on October 3, 1969. The British blues rock band, 22-20, was named after James' composition, '22-20 Blues' ('31). (Robert Johnson would record '32-20 Blues' in 1936.) Titles below are by James except as noted. A partial list of James' compositions at discogs.

Skip James 1931

   22-20 Blues

      From Roosevelt Sykes' '32-20'   1930

   Cherry Ball

   Cypress Grove Blues

   Devil Got My Woman

   Illinois Blues

   I'm So Glad

Skip James 1966

   Skip's Worried Blues

Skip James 1967

   All Night Long

      Filmed live

   Devil Got My Woman

      Hampton Jazz Festival

   Crow Jane

      Composition: Piedmont region traditional

Skip James 1968

   I'm So Glad

Skip James 1969

   Washington D.C. Hospital Center Blues


Birth of the Blues: Mississippi Delta Region

Region of the Mississippi Delta

Source: Carnegie Mellon

Like early jazz which had two main branches, developing out of Chicago in the north and New Orleans in the south, so it was with the blues, musicians gravitating to Chicago in the north along the major vein of the Mississippi River, forming the heart of the blues in the Delta region. Born in Crawford, Mississippi in 1903, Big Joe Williams, (Joseph Lee Williams) often played a nine-string guitar. The twenties saw him with the Rabbit Foot Minstrels for a time. (Others who worked for that tent show were Arthur Happy Howe, Ma Rainey, Ida Cox, Bessie Smith, Butterbeans and Susie, Tim Moore, Louis Jordan, Brownie McGhee and Rufus Thomas.) Williams is thought to have first recorded at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, TN, on September 24, 1929 per Vocalion 1457: 'I Want It Awful Bad' and 'Mr. Devil Blues'. Jed Davenport may have been at harmonica. Those were followed on December 11, 1930, with the Birmingham Jug Band in Atlanta, GA, possibly with Jaybird Coleman on harmonica. American Music lists the first two of nine tracks as 'German Blues' and 'Gettin' Ready for Trial' (OKeh 8856). Williams career received a major boost upon signing with the Bluebird record label in 1935. Unlike many blues artists who faded away before rediscovery during the blues and folk revival of the sixties, Williams remained well-known as he worked the Delta region. Wikipedia has him partnering with a young Muddy Waters during the thirties. keeponliving has him performing in St. Louis, MO, with Peetie Wheatstraw about 1939. American Music (AM) has Sonny Boy Williamson I with Williams on the former's debut recordings on May 5, 1937, at the Leland Hotel in Aurora, Illinois, that backing Robert Lee McCoy on 'Prowling Night-Hawk' (Bluebird B6995). AM follows that on the same date with Williamson's first name session with McCoy and Williams supporting per 'Skinny Woman'/'Got the Bottle Up and Gone' (Bluebird 7012). AM then has McCoy and Williamson backing Williams' 'I Know You Gonna Miss Me'/'Brother James' (Bluebird B7022). That trio also recorded on May 5: Williams' 'Rootin' Ground Hog'/'I Won't Be in Hard Luck No More' (Bluebird B7065), Williamson's 'Blue Bird Blues'/'Jackson Blues' (Bluebird 7098), and McCoy's 'Sweet Pepper Mama' (Bluebird B7090) and 'Tough Luck' (Bluebird B7115). Williamson supported Williams severally over the years, including the former's last known recordings, those on December 18, 1947, for Williams' 'Banta Rooster Blues', 'House Lady Blues', 'King Biscuit Stomp', 'Don't You Leave Me Here', 'P Vine Blues' and 'I'm a Highway Man'. Those were issued per Columbia 30119, Columbia 38190, Columbia 30129, Columbia 30191. Williams released his initial LP in 1958: 'Piney Woods Blues', his popularity to increase in the sixties. He recorded with several labels, and toured Europe and Japan before his death on December 17, 1982, age 79, in Macon, Mississippi. Compositions by Williams are noted at allmusic and discogs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. All titles below were written by Williams. His was the initial 'Crawling King Snake'. (Victoria Spivey had issued a similarly titled 'Black Snake Blues' in 1926 [OKeh 8338], the same year as Blind Lemon Jefferson's 'Black Snake Moan' [OKeh 8455].) That title has been covered numerously through the years: The Doors in '71, Canned Heat w John Lee Hooker in '85, Etta James in '93, et al.

Big Joe Williams   1935

  Baby Please Don't Go

   Little Leg Woman

   Providence Help the Poor People

   Somebody's Been Borrowin' That Stuff

Big Joe Williams   1937

   I Won't Be In Hard Luck No More

Big Joe Williams   1941

   Crawling King Snake

   Someday Baby

Big Joe Williams   1947

   Banta Rooster Blues

Big Joe Williams   1951

   She Left Me a Mule to Ride

Big Joe Williams   1961

   Shaggy Hound Blues

Big Joe Williams   1965

   Baby Please Don't Go

      Live performance

Big Joe Williams   1966

   She Left Me a Mule to Ride

      Live performance


Birth of the Blues: Big Joe Williams

Big Joe Williams

Photo: Dick Waterman

Source: Past Blues

  King Solomon Hill (Joe Holmes) was a Delta blues musician born near McComb, Mississippi, in 1897. He there performed with Sam Collins in the twenties. 1928 found him in Wichita Falls with Blind Lemon Jefferson and George Young. He also collaborated with Willard Thomas (Ramblin' Thomas) in Shreveport, Louisiana. He made his way to Grafton, Illinois, to make his debut recordings on an uncertain date in 1932. American Music begins its account of Hill's titles with 'Whoopee Blues' and 'Down On My Bended Knee' issued per Paramount 13116. Among other titles that year was his tribute to Blind Lemon Jefferson who had died December 19, 1929: 'My Buddy Blind Papa Lemon', that released with 'Times Has Done Got Hard' per Paramount 13125. Recording only several titles, Hill (Holmes) is yet another spectral blues artist concerning whom little is known, and whom no photos identify with certainty. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Louisiana sometime in 1949. Hill is responsible for all compositions below.

King Solomon Hill   1932

   Down On My Bended Knee

  My Buddy Blind Papa Lemon

   Times Has Done Got Hard

  Whoopie Blues



Born in 1904 or 1907 in North Carolina, it was 1935 that Blind Boy Fuller (Fulton Allen) was a teenager working as a laborer when he began to go blind from a case of neonatal conjunctivitis, completely blind by 1928. He married one Cora Mae Martin the next year. Being blind was the reason not a few blues musicians took up guitar to busk on the streets for a living. Such was Fuller's situation, he learning guitar from records. In 1935 when a record shop owner, James Baxter Long, arranged for Fuller to travel to New York City with Bull City Red and Reverend Blind Gary Davis to record for ARC (American Record Company). honkingduck accounts for 12 titles in July that year, beginning on the 23rd with 'Baby, I Don't Have to Worry', 'I'm a Rattlesnakin' Daddy', 'I'm Climbin' on Top of the Hill' and 'Lookin' for My Woman'. The 24th saw 'Ain't It a Cryin' Shame'. Fuller recorded about 125 titles in the next five years, his last tracks taking place on June 19, 1940, in Chicago. American Music has his final sides that day as 'Precious Lord Travelin' Man' and 'Night Rambling Woman'. Fuller died the next year on February 13 at age 30, said to be largely due to excessive drinking. Recordings by Fuller with compositional credits at allmusic 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and discogs 1, 2. Fuller recorded numerous titles with harmonica player, Sonny Terry. Documentation of such with songwriting credits at allmusic and discogs. Titles below are thought to have been composed by Fuller except as indicated.

Blind Boy Fuller   1935

   Log Cabin Blues

   Baby You Gotta Change Your Mind

   I'm a Rattlesnakin' Daddy

   Rag, Mama, Rag

   Somebody's Been Playing with That Thing

Blind Boy Fuller   1936

   Big Bed Blues

  Truckin' My Blues Away

      Composition: Fuller/J.B. Long

Blind Boy Fuller   1937

   Careless Love

      Composition: W.C. Handy/M.E. Koenig/S. Williams

   Georgia Ham Mama

  Truckin' My Blues Away No. 2

   You Never Can Tell

Blind Boy Fuller   1938

  Get Your Ya Yas Out

   Piccolo Rag

   Pistol Slapper Blues

Blind Boy Fuller   1939

   I Want Some of Your Pie

Blind Boy Fuller   1940

   Bus Riders Blues

  Good Feeling Blues

      Composition: Fuller/J.B. Long

   Harmonica Stomp

      Composition: Sonny Terry

  Little Woman You're So Sweet

  Night Rambling Woman

  Step It Up and Go


Birth of the Blues: Blind Boy Fuller

Blind Boy Fuller

Source: Jas Obrecht Music Archive

Birth of the Blues: Birthplace of the Blues

Leadbelly's Birthplace

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Lead Belly (Huddie William Ledbetter) was born in Mooringsport, Louisiana, about the center of Caddo Parish, the red area above.

Lead Belly, a folk and gospel singer, specialized in 12-string guitar. He composed 'The Titanic' in 1912 while performing with Blind Lemon Jefferson in the Dallas area. That was the year New Mexico and Arizona were admitted to the Union. Born in Louisiana in 1888 or '89, the first time Huddie William Ledbetter went to jail was in 1915 for carrying a pistol. He escaped from a chain gang, only to be confined again in 1918, this time for killing a relative in a fight over a woman. Released in 1925, he was incarcerated a third time in 1930 for knifing a white man in yet another fight. Lead Belly made his first recordings on unknown dates in mid July, 1933, at Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, for John and Alan Lomax in the employ of the Library of Congress. The University of London also has Lead Belly recording for the Lomax's and the LOC in 1933. A second set of Lomax recordings followed in July of 1934. Lead Belly's early recordings with Lomax can be found on 'Selected Sides 1934-1948 Vol. 1: Matchbox Blues 1934-1937'. Following Lead Belly's release from incarceration in August, numerous Lomax sessions were held from September to March of 1935. During that period Lead Belly made his first commercial recordings, as well, during three sessions on January 23, 24 and 25 of 1935 for ARC (American Recording Company). The majority of 34 tracks went unissued excepting 'New Black Snake Moan', 'Four Day Worry Blues', 'Packin’ Trunk Blues', 'Honey, I’m All Out and Down', and 'Becky Deem, She Was a Gamblin’ Girl'. The last was issued with 'Pig Meat Papa' in 1936 (recorded March 1935). Future Lomax recordings were made in June of '37, December of '38 and August of 1940. During that time Lead Belly had been jailed a fourth time for stabbing a man in a fight in Manhattan in 1939. Serving minimum time (for good behavior) he'd been released again in 1940. Lead Belly had plenty of time to get in trouble again, as he didn't die until December 6, 1949, but playing for radio stations in New York City, camaraderie with other blues and folk musicians, and a brief tour in Europe apparently helped keep the peace. Among the many traditionals of unknown or derivative composition recorded by Lead Belly were:

   Blue Tail Fly   1948
   John Hardy   1940
   John Henry   1938
   Linin' Track (Can't You Line 'Em)
   Midnight Special   1934
   Old Chisholm Trail (Western Cowboy)   1933
   Pick a Bale of Cotton   1935

Among titles composed by Lead Belly with the year he first recorded them were:

   Alberta   1935
   Baby, You Don't Love Me No More   1935
   De Kalb Blues   1935
   Ham an' Eggs   1940
   Hollywood and Vine   1948
   I'm on My Last Go Round   1940
   Julianne Johnson   1940
   Leaving Blues   1940
   Mother's Blues (Little Children Blues)
   My Baby Quit Me   1935
   National Defense Blues   1948
   New York City   1937
   Packin' Trunk Blues   1935
   Pig Meat Papa   1935
   Please Pardon Me   1925
   Pretty Flowers in My Back Yard
   Roberta   1935
   The Scottsboro Boys   1938
   Take a Whiff on Me   1933
   Whoa Back Buck   1934

See also songwriting credits to Leadbelly recordings at allmusic and australiancharts. Lead Belly made his last commercial recordings in 1944. He last recorded in 1948, which sessions can be found on a CD set titled 'Leadbelly's Last Sessions', released in 1994. Per below, all titles are Lead Belly compositions unless otherwise noted. Per 1934, 'Black Betty' likely refers to a prison whip or wagon.

Lead Belly   1933?

   Angola Blues   Unissued

Lead Belly   1934

   I'm Sorry Mama   Unissued

      Composition: Traditional

    Black Betty   Unissued

      Composition: Traditional

Lead Belly   1935

   C.C. Rider   Unissued

      Composition: Ma Rainey/Lena Arant   1924

       ('See See Rider')

   My Baby Quit Me   Unissued

   New Black Snake Moan   Issued by Paramount

      Composition: Blind Lemon Jefferson   1926

       ('Black Snake Moan')

Lead Belly   1939

    The Bourgeois Blues

Lead Belly   1940

    Cotton Fields   Issue unknown

Lead Belly   1941

   Grey Goose   Issued by Victor

     Composition: Traditional

Lead Belly   1942

    Mr. Hitler   Issue unknown

Lead Belly   1944

    In New Orleans

      'House of the Rising Sun'   Version 1

       Composition: Traditional

   Rock Island Line

      Composition: Clarence Wilson   1929

   Where Did You Sleep Last Night

      Composition: Traditional

Lead Belly   1947

     Grasshoppers In My Pillow

Lead Belly   1948

   House of the Rising Sun   Version 2

     Composition: Traditional

      Issued 1962   Folkways Records

      'Leadbelly's Last Sessions Volume Two'

   I'm Alone Because I Love You

      Composition: Joe Young/John Siras   1930

      Issued 1962   Folkways Records

      'Leadbelly's Last Sessions Volume Two'

    The Titanic

      Issued 1953   Folkways Records

      'Leadbelly's Last Sessions Volume One'


Birth of the Blues: Lead Belly

Lead Belly

Source: Wyn Wachhosrt

Birth of the Blues: Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson

Source: Zwierzenia Rockmana

Robert Leroy Johnson, yet another Delta blues guitarist, is supposed to have been born in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, on May 8, 1911. Music and the spooky have had an intimate relationship for centuries. One could presume most musicians to experience such in their own ways. Johnson is famous for selling his soul to the Devil in exchange for tuning his guitar, supposedly at the crossroads of US 61 and US 49 a bit north of Clarksdale, MS. It seems that Johnson had left Mississippi for Arkansas in 1930, neither owning a guitar nor very good at playing one. Six months later (some say two years) he returned with a Gibson Kalamazoo and a fairly nice ability. As to the Devil, that rumor is thought to have gotten started with Son House and Peter Welding a couple years later, then let to float toward the development of various stories about it. Johnson made his first recordings on November 23, 1936, in San Antonio, TX, at the Gunter Hotel, Room 414: 'Kind Hearted Woman Blues', 'Terraplane Blues', 'Dead Shrimp Blues', 'I Believe I'll Dust My Broom', 'Ramblin' On My Mind', 'Come On In My Kitchen', 'Sweet Home Chicago', 'When You Got a Good Friend', 'Phonograph Blues'. Further sessions followed later that month. American Music doesn't have him recording again until June 19 and 20 in Dallas, TX, among his last on the 20th such as 'Traveling Riverside Blues', 'Honeymoon Blues', 'Love in Vain Blues' and 'Milkcow's Calf Blues'. Johnson would die a year later, age 27, on August 16, 1938, presumably of a poisoned bottle of whisky in Greenwood, MS. Johnson's recordings are listed with compositional credits at Australian Charts and All Music 1, 2. The Rolling Stones would do their famous cover of 'Love in Vain' in 1969 on their 'Let It Bleed' album. Titles below were written by Johnson except as noted.

Robert Johnson 1937

 32-20 Blues

     Composition: Roosevelt Sykes   1930

      Lyrics from Skip James' '22-30 Blues'   1931

 Come On In My Kitchen

     From melody by Mississippi Sheiks:

     ‘Sitting on Top of The World’  1930

 Crossroad Blues

  I Believe I'll Dust My Broom

  Kind Hearted Woman Blues

  Last Fair Deal Gone Down

 Love in Vain Blues

    From Leroy Carr’s ‘When the Sun Goes Down’   1935

 Sweet Home Chicago

     See Kokomo Arnold:

      'Old Original Kokomo Blues'   1935

 Terraplane Blues


  Born in Hughes Springs, Texas, in 1905, Black Ace (Babe Kyro Lemon Turner) traveled the juke joints of eastern Texas with Andrew Smokey Hogg and Oscar Buddy Woods in the early thirties. He first recorded on April 26, 1936, in Fort Worth, TX, two unissued tracks for ARC: 'Bonus Man Blues' and 'Black Ace Blues'. Come six of his compositions for Decca on February 15 the next year: 'Black Ace', 'Trifling Woman', 'You Gonna Need My Help Some Day', 'Whiskey and Women', 'Christmas Time Blues', 'Lowing Heifer'. Thought to have been accompanied by Smokey Hogg, those were issued as Decca 7281, 7340 and 7387. That same year ('37) Ace began his own radio show on KFJZ in Fort Worth on which he played blues tunes until, so far as known, 1941, the year he appeared in the film, 'The Blood of Jesus'. Drafted into the army in 1943, Ace then quit the music business until he recorded an album in the summer of 1960: 'BK Turner and His Steel Guitar' ('61). His revived interest in the blues, however, would last only a couple years, his last performance in 1962 for a film documentary titled 'The Blues'. Ace died of cancer ten years later on November 7, 1972. Compositions credited to Ace by discogs.

Black Ace   1937

   I Am the Black Ace

  Trifling Woman

   You Gonna Need My Help Someday

   Whiskey and Woman


Birth of the Blues: Black Ace

Black Ace

Source: Reina Salt's Night Blues



Born in 1911, guitarist Floyd Council began his music career busking on the streets of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in the twenties. Just so, he was a Piedmont blues musician. (Distinguished from Delta blues, Piedmont blues arose out of the Virginia-Carolinas region more removed toward the East Coast.) Council began busking Chapel Hill with Blind Boy Fuller in the thirties. American Music has Council first recording as Dipper Boy Council on February 8, 1937, backing Fuller in New York City on 'If You Don't Give Me What You Want' (Bull City Red on washboard) and 'Boots and Shoes'. His first name solo titles went down as Dipper Boy Council on the 9th: 'I'm Grievin' and I'm Worryin'' and 'Runaway Man'. He recorded 'I Don't Want No Hungry Woman' on the 9th and 'Lookin' for My Baby' on the 11th as The Devil's Daddy-in-Law. Council and Fuller held sessions on the 10th and 11th as well, Dipper Boy also recording his name solo titles 'Poor and Ain't Got a Dime' and 'Working Man Blues' on the 11th. Council and Fuller held sessions again in September (unissued) and December 15 of '37 for Fuller's 'Ten O'Clock Peeper', 'Oozin' You Off My Mind' and 'Shake That Shimmy'. 1938 saw them on Fuller's unissued titles, 'Georgia Ham Mama' and 'Jivin' Woman Blues'. December 18 witnessed him with Sonny Terry on harmonica on the unissued titles, 'String Bean Blues' and 'Down Home Blues'. Council wasn't to record again until August 6, 1970, by Peter Lowry for Trix Records, those with Rufus Jackson on harmonica and vocals: 'Red River', 'Let's Play House' and 'Sitting on Top of the World'. Those went unissued, as a stroke in the sixties had left Council too unable to perform, despite his apparently healthy mental condition. Council himself stated in 1969 that he'd recorded 27 songs (seven of those issued by Fuller). If so, then there was a session or so of several songs unaccounted for at American Music (first recording above). Floyd Council is the reason for the latter half of the name of the rock band, Pink Floyd. Pink Anderson is the reason for the former half. Council died of heart attack on May 9, 1976, in Sanford, NC.

Floyd Council   1937

   If You Don't Give Me What I Want

      With Blind Boy Fuller

   I'm Grievin' and I'm Worryin'

   Poor and Ain't Got a Dime

  Runaway Man


Birth of the Blues: Floyd Council

Floyd Council

Source: Wikipedia


Birth of the Blues: Robert Nighthawk

Robert Nighthawk

Source: End of Being

Born Robert Lee McCollum in Helena, Arkansas, in 1909, Robert Nighthawk was known as Robert Lee McCoy until he became Nighthawk in the latter forties, due to the popularity of his song, 'Prowling Night Hawk', in 1937. McCoy initially played harmonica, though soon picked up slide guitar as well, inspired by Tampa Red. Sunday Blues (SB) has McCoy first recording four unissued tracks at an undisclosed location on October 23, 1936, those with pianist, Jack Newman: 'Big House Blues', 'Down and Mistreated Blues', 'Pepper Mama' and 'That Jive You Got'. He was in St. Louis when he helped fill guitarist/pianist, Henry Townsend's, Model A Ford to drive to Aurora, Illinois, with pianist, Walter Davis, Big Joe Williams and Sonny Boy Williamson I. That would accomplish McCoy's first sessions to issue for Bluebird Records on May 5, 1937. Following SB, he backed Davis on titles like 'Angel Child', 'Fifth Avenue Blues', et al, those with Townsend. SB next lists titles in support of Williams with Williamson I on the same date like 'I Know You Gonna Miss Me', 'Rootin' Ground Hog', et al. Also on May 5 came titles for Williamson I, with Williams, such as 'Good Morning Little School Girl', 'Bluebird Blues', et al. McCoy's first name sessions were held on the same date, backed by Williams and Williamson I. American Music lists four of six per 'Prowling Night-Hawk', 'G-Man' (unissued), 'Sweet Pepper Mama' and 'Tough Luck'. Titles for Williamson I followed on November 11, those with Townsend: 'Up the Country', 'Worried Me Blues', et al. Titles followed in 1938 placing McCoy with Speckled Red, Willie Hatcher and Williamson I again. McCoy recorded as Rambling Bob in the latter thirties, as Peetie's Boy in the early forties, also performing on radio before changing his name to Robert Nighthawk in the latter forties to record with his Nighthawks. Unfortunately Nighthawk never attained to a commercial success that could prevent him from ending up busking on the streets of Chicago. He died a few years afterward on November 5, 1967, in Helena, Arkansas. Among the better known of his early compositions were 'Prowling Night-Hawk', 'Tough Luck' and 'Friars Point Blues'. A partial list of recordings as both McCoy and Nighthawk with songwriting credits at discogs. McCoy performs with Williamson I (John Lee Williamson) per 1937 and '38 below.

Robert Nighthawk   1937



   My Friend Has Forsaken Me

  Prowling Night-Hawk

  Sweet Pepper Mama

   Tough Luck

Robert Nighthawk   1938

   Big Apple Blues

Robert Nighthawk   1940

   Every Day and Night

     Piano: Speckled Red

   Friars Point Blues

Robert Nighthawk   1948

   My Sweet Lovin' Woman

Robert Nighthawk   1949

   Return Mail Blues

Robert Nighthawk   1964

   I Need Love So Bad

   Mr. Bell's Shuffle

   Yakity Yak


  Born in 1907, probably near Yazoo City, Mississippi, Robert Petway was born in 1907, probably near Yazoo City, Mississippi, though research exists that would place his birth in Alabama. He worked the Mississippi Delta at such at roadhouses during his early career with guitarist, Tommy McClennan. He then followed McLennon north to Chicago where he recorded his only 16 sides on March 28 of 1941 and February 20 of 1942. American Music (AM) begins its list on the 28th with 'Let Me Be Your Boss'/'Rockin' Chair Blues' (Bluebird B8726), 'Sleepy Woman Blues'/'Don't Go Down Baby' (Bluebird B8756), 'Left My Baby Crying'/'My Little Girl' (Bluebird B8786), et al. AM has him likely accompanied by Alfred Elkins on those, as with the next eight the next year: 'Boogie Woogie Woman'/'Hollow Log Blues' (Bluebird B8987), 'In the Evening'/'Bertha Lee Blues' (Bluebird B9008), et al. Petway then wafted off into the sunset, not to manifest again. Social Security records may have him dying in Chicago on May 30, 1978. Petway is best known for his composition (Tommy McClennan also proffered), 'Catfish Blues', gone down with 'My Little Girl' in 1941 (Bluebird B8838). WorldCat has fourteen of his recordings composed by him, including those below. See also australiancharts.

Robert Petway   1941

   Catfish Blues

   Left My Baby Crying

   My Little Girl

Robert Petway   1942

   Bertha Lee Blues

   Hollow Log Blues

   In the Evening

   My Baby Left Me

   Rockin' Chair Blues


Birth of the Blues: Robert Petway

Robert Petway

Source: Wikipedia



With Robert Petway we pause this history of early blues guitar players. We will be listing more as such occur.



Early Blues 1: Guitar

Early Blues 2: Vocal - Other Instruments

Modern Blues 1: Guitar

Modern Blues 2: Vocal - Other Instruments

Modern Blues 3: Black Gospel Appendix


Medieval - Renaissance


Galant - Classical

Romantic: Composers born 1770 to 1840

Romantic - Impressionist

Expressionist - Modern

Modern: Composers born 1900 to 1950




Country Western


Early Jazz 1: Ragtime - Bands - Horn

Early Jazz 2: Ragtime - Other Instrumentation

Early Jazz 3: Ragtime - Song - Hollywood

Swing Era 1: Big Bands

Swing Era 2: Song

Modern 1: Saxophone

Modern 2: Trumpet - Other Horn

Modern 3: Piano

Modern 4: Guitar - Other String

Modern 5: Percussion - Other Orchestration

Modern 6: Song

Modern 7: Latin Jazz - Latin Recording

Modern 8: United States 1960 - 1970

Modern 9: International 1960 - 1970

Rock & Roll

Early - Boogie Woogie - R&B - Soul - Disco

Doo Wop

The Big Bang - Fifties American Rock

UK Beat

British Invasion

Total War - Sixties American Rock

Other Musical Genres - Popular Music Appendix

Musician Indexes

Classical - Medieval to Renaissance

Classical - Baroque to Classical

Classical - Romantic to Modern

The Blues

Bluegrass - Folk

Country Western

Jazz Early - Ragtime - Swing Jazz

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Jazz Modern - Piano - String

Jazz Modern - Percussion - Song - Other

Jazz Modern - 1960 to 1970

Boogie Woogie - Doo Wop - R&B - Rock & Roll - Soul

UK Beat - British Invasion

Sixties American Rock - Popular

Latin Recording - Europe

Latin Recording - The Caribbean - South America


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