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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    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:



Lead Belly

1923 Sylvester Weaver    Big Joe Williams
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    Willie Brown    Bo Carter    John Hurt    Tommy Johnson    Carl Martin    Kansas Joe McCoy    Papa Charlie McCoy    Tampa Red    Curley Weaver    Casey Bill Weldon    Josh White
1929 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    Reverend Robert Wilkins
1931 Bumble Bee Slim    Skip James
1932 King Solomon Hill
1935 Blind Boy Fuller
1936 Robert Johnson
1937 Black Ace    Floyd Council    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.

Birth of the Blues: Birthplace of the Blues

Birthplace of the Blues

Source: Wikimedia Commons

When speaking terms of a "Father" of the blues, one is talking either Lead Belly or 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. Lead Belly was the progenitor of southern rural blues. William Handy was born in Alabama but early left for Chicago, he the progenitor of northern urban blues about the same time. Be as may, both would soon mesh or not. Lead Belly was born in Mooringsport, Louisiana, about the center of Caddo Parish, the red area above.

Lead Belly, a folk and gospel singer, introduced guitar as a main medium of the blues, first recording in 1912. 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. Again released in 1934, he returned to prison a fourth time for stabbing a man in a fight in Manhattan. Serving minimum time (for good behavior) he was released again in 1940 or '41. He had plenty of time to get in trouble again, since he didn't die until 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. 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.

Lead Belly   1912

    The Titanic

Lead Belly   1934

    Sorry Mama

    Black Betty

Lead Belly   1935

    Grey Goose

    My Baby Quit Me

Lead Belly   1939

    The Bourgeois Blues

Lead Belly   1941

    Cotton Fields

Lead Belly   1942

    Hitler Blues

Lead Belly   1944

    Grasshoppers In My Pillow

    Where Did You Sleep Last Night

    Rock Island Line

    See See Rider

    House of the Rising Sun

    I'm Alone Because I Love You


Birth of the Blues: Lead Belly

Lead Belly

Source: Wyn Wachhosrt

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', the latter below. Weaver made his name largely due his partnership with Martin. Others with whom he recorded were violinist, E.L. Coleman, with Charles Washington on banjo for 'Steel String Bllues' in St. Louis, MO, in 1925. 'Alligator Blues' was put down with with Helen Humes in November of 1927. Albeit a popular guitarist in New York City for the four years that he recorded, Weaver retired from music in 1927 and returned to Louisville where he lived in obscurity until his death in 1960.

Sylvester Weaver   1923

   Guitar Rag

Sylvester Weaver   1927

   Bottle Neck Blues

      With Walter Beasley


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 and the Mississippi Delta in the south. Born in Crawford, Mississippi in 1903, Big Joe Williams, an early Delta blues musician, often played a nine-string guitar. He released 'Baby Don't Leave Me' in 1923, about ten years later than Lead Belly's first recording (1912), with Dad Tracy, a one-string violinist. Williams career received a major boost upon signing with the Bluebird record label in in 1935, after which he remained greatly popular during the revival of blues and folk in the fifties and sixties, recorded with several labels and toured Europe and Japan. Williams died in 1982, age 79, in Macon, Mississippi.

Big Joe Williams   1923

   Baby Please Don't Go

Big Joe Williams   1935

   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


Born in 1887, banjo player Papa Charlie Jackson mixed blues with ragtime, first recording in 1924, 'Airy Man Blues' and 'Lawdy Lawdy Blues' among his first. (The recordings of those two songs below are scratchy, but all that could be found.) Jackson recorded a total of 66 sides until his relatively early death in 1938. His is the first recording of the blues standard, 'Spoonful', below.

Papa Charlie Jackson   1924

   Airy Man Blues

   Lawdy Lawdy Blues

Papa Charlie Jackson   1925

   All I Want Is a Spoonful

   Drop That Sack

   Take Me Back Blues

Papa Charlie Jackson   1926

   The Judge Cliff Davis Blues

Papa Charlie Jackson   1929

   Hot Papa Blues


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. 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.

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   1951


      With Tiny Bradshaw

   Me And My Crazy Self

      With Tiny Bradshaw

   Seven Long Days

      With Tiny Bradshaw

Lonnie Johnson   1966

   Swingin' the Blues




Born in 1896, guitarist Blind Blake (Arthur Blake) produced 80 tracks for Paramount Records between 1926 and 1932, his first thought to have been with Ma Rainey in December of '26 for such as 'Little Low Mama Blues' and 'Grievin' Hearted Blues'. Blending blues with ragtime, his first release was 'Early Morning Blues' in 1926 with 'West Coast Blues' on the B side. Unfortunately Blake died of tuberculosis on December 1, 1934, only 38 years old.

Blind Blake   1926

   Early Morning Blues

   West Coast Blues

   Back Biting Bee Blues

      Vocalist: Leola Wilson

   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

   Georgia Bound

Blind Blake   1930

   Stingaree Man Blues

      Vocal: Irene Scruggs


Birth of the Blues: Blind Blake

Blind Blake

  Bo Weavil Jackson was busking on the streets of Chicago when he made several recordings in 1926, then disappeared. He recorded as Bo-Weavil Jackson for Paramount and Sam Butler for Vocalion.

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 1988, life had been one mean and worthless attack upon the next to 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. This time, thankfully, he didn't end up in jail. But he did lose his left leg of diabetes, consigning him to a wheelchair and ineluctable poverty. Howell recorded one last time at age 75, before dying in 1966. Well, trapped in a world all wrong, Earth no nice trap to be, Howell was otherwise rich, realizing the enormous importance of music, and the way things ought to be, instead of what they are.

Peg Leg Howell   1926

   Coal Man Blues

   New Prison Blues

   Hobo Blues

   Moanin' and Groanin' Blues

   New Jelly Roll Blues

   Peg Leg Stomp

   Papa Stobb Blues

   Please Ma'am

   Turtle Dove Blues

   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 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.

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

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, whence 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.

Big Bill Broonzy   1927

   Big Bill Blues

   House Rent Stomp

Big Bill Broonzy   1932

   Long Tall Mama

Big Bill Broonzy   1934

   Mississippi Blues

Big Bill Broonzy   1941

   I Feel So Good

   Key to the Highway

Big Bill Broonzy   1956

   When Did You Leave Heaven



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 in 1927, dying ten years later in 1937.

Richard Brown   1927

   James Alley Blues

   Never Let The Same Bee Sting You Twice

   The Sinking of the Titanic


Birth of the Blues: Richard Rabbit Brown

Richard Rabbit Brown

Source: Smokestack Lightnin'



Mississippi-born (1883) banjo player Gus Cannon first recorded in 1927. In 1928 he formed the Jug Stompers. 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. Cannon performed music until his death in 1979 at 96 years of age.

Gus Cannon   1927

   Big Railroad Blues

   Can You Blame the Colored Man

   Hollywood Rag

   Madison Street Blues

   Minglewood Blues

   My Money Never Runs Out

   Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home

   Viola Lee Blues

   Walk Right In

Gus Cannon   1929

   Going to Germany

Gus Cannon   1930

   Pretty Mama Blues


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 before making his first recordings in 1927, 'Lonesome Road Blues', below, among them. Collins died of heart disease in 1949 at age sixty-two.

Sam Collins   1927

   Lonesome Road Blues

   Midnight Special Blues

Sam Collins   1931

   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.

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.

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

   Trouble Will Soon Be Over

Blind Willie Johnson   1928

   Lord I Just Can't Keep From Crying


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, a profile in Playboy magazine and even opening for the Rolling Stones on two occasions.

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

   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 in 1959.

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

Blind Willie McTell   1940

   Amazng Grace

   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. His last recordings were made in 1929, after which he performed at circuses, medicine shows and, with Bukka White, juke joints in Clarksdale, Mississippi.  Stokes died of stroke in Memphis in 1955.

Frank Stokes   1927

   Beale Town Bound

   How Long

   Bed Time Blues

   Downtown Blues

   I Got Mine

   Stomp That Thing

   What's the Matter Blues



Birth of the Blues: Pink Anderson

Pink Anderson

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, below, is the reason for the last half.)

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

   Thousand Women Blues



Birth of the Blues: Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell

Leroy Carr   Scrapper Blackwell

Source: bdla

Born in 1903 in South Carolina, guitarist Scrapper Blackwell formed his famous partnership with pianist Leroy Carr in 1928. Their first release in 1928, 'How Long Blues', was the best-selling blues tune that year. (More Leroy Carr in Blues 2.) They 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 in 1962 in Indianapolis, age fifty-nine.

Scrapper Blackwell  1928

   How Long Blues

      With Leroy Carr

   Kokomo Blues

Scrapper Blackwell  1931

   Back Door Blues

Scrapper Blackwell  1932

   Down In Black Bottom

   How Long Has That Evening Train Been Gone

   Midnight Hour Blues

      With Leroy Carr

   Whiskey Man Blues


  Born in Byram, Mississippi in 1901, Ishmon Bracey, was another Memphis musician, making his first recording in 1928 with Papa Charlie McCoy on mandolin. Bracey recorded only 16 tracks during his brief blues career. By the time of the blues revival in the fifties and sixties he had become a preacher and had lost all interest in pursuing the blues. Bracey died in 1970 in Jackson, Mississippi.

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 Bracey

Source: Hell Hound

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 with Document Records in 1928 (unfound). 'Rowdy Blues', below, is credited to Kid Bailey. But there is uncertainty whether Brown is the backup guitarist or using 'Kid Bailey' as a pseudonym. Indeed, it is moot if Kid Bailey was another Delta bluesman or Willie Brown himself. There are few recordings by Brown as he worked largely as a backup guitarist. He died of heart disease in 1952 in Mississippi.

Willie Brown   1929

   Rowdy Blues

   M & O Blues

   Ragged and Dirty


  Bo Carter (Armenter Chatmon) was a Mississippi Delta bluesman who didn't head north to the Memphis blues hub until 1940. But by then he had dropped out of the music industry, pursuing other means of living. Among his earliest known recordings is 'Corinne, Corinna' below. Bo Carter died in Memphis in 1964. More Bo Carter with Charlie McCoy below.

Bo Carter   1928

   Corrine, Corrina

Bo Carter   1931

   All Around Man

Bo Carter   1938

   Old Devil


Birth of the Blues: Bo Carter

Bo Carter

Source: Jesse Dean Freeman



Born in 1893 in Mississippi, folk guitarist John Hurt went to Memphis and New York City in 1928 to record six 78s (12 songs) for Okeh Records. They sold so poorly that he returned to obscurity in Avalon, Mississippi. Rediscovered in 1963, he then released his first album, only to die of heart attack three years later.

Mississippi John Hurt   1928

   Ain't No Tellin'

   Avalon Blues

   Blessed Be the Name

   Blue Harvest Blues

   Candy Man Blues


   Got the Blues (Can't Be Satisfied)

   Louis Collins

   Nobody's Dirty Business

   Praying On the Old Camp Ground

   Spike Driver Blues

   Stack O' Lee Blues

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. Johnson was an accomplished guitarist very popular in the Jackson area of Mississippi until his death in 1956 of heart attack.

Tommy Johnson 1928

   Alcohol and Jake 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 Virginia in 1906, Carl Martin himself guesses that his first recording was in Knoxville in 1928 ('Vine Street Rag' and 'Knox County Stomp', neither found). His next recordings were in Chicago in 1934 for Bluebird. Martin played fiddle as well, working largely in Chicago in a variety of genres. He died in Pontiac, Michigan, in 1979, 73 years of age.

Carl Martin   1934

   Kid Man Blues

   You Can Go Your Way

Carl Martin   1935

   Crow Jane

   Farewell To You Baby

   Good Morning Judge


  Born in Virginia in 1906, Delta bluesman Kansas Joe McCoy (older brother of Papa Charlie McCoy, a favored blues accompanist on guitar and mandolin) made his debut recording in 1928 as a backup guitarist for minstrel singer Alec Johnson. In 1929 he married Memphis Minnie with whom he cut a number of records. They migrated to Chicago together but divorced in 1934, after which McCoy formed the Harlem Hamfats. 'Weed Smoker's Dreams', below, was among their first recordings. (More McCoy under Memphis Minnie below.)

Kansas Joe McCoy   1928

   Sundown Blues

Kansas Joe McCoy   1936

   Weed Smoker's Dreams

Kansas Joe McCoy   1938

   The Candy Man

   Don't Start No Stuff


Birth of the Blues: Kansas Joe McCoy

Kansas Joe McCoy

Source: Discogs

  Born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1909, Papa Charlie McCoy was a mandolin player whose first record release occurred in 1928. McCoy was best known for his work with Bo Carter (above). He also recorded with Kansas Joe McCoy as one of the McCoy Brothers. McCoy served in the Army during World War II. Upon discharge from service he returned to music, but died in 1950 of paralytic brain disease.

Papa Charlie McCoy   1928


Papa Charlie McCoy   1930

   Blue Heaven Blues

   Your Valves Need Grinding

Papa Charlie McCoy   1931

   It Still Ain't No Good

Papa Charlie McCoy   1934

   Candy Man Blues


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 got his start with Ma Rainey in Chicago. His first titles with her were circa September of 1928 with Thomas Dorsey at piano for such as 'Daddy Goodbye Blues' and 'Keep Talking Blues'. His first name titles are thought to have been with his Hokum Jug Band for Vocalion on October 31, 1928, for 'Good Gordon Gin' and 'Down the Alley'. Those were followed on November 9 by 'It's Tight Like That', How Long Blues' and 'You Can't Come In'. A highly regarded guitarist, Red was a favorite session musician. 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, too much. Such that one of the main figures in blues was destitute by the time he died in 1981 in Chicago. More Tampa Red under Big Maceo Merriweather in Blues 4.

Tampa Red   1928

   It's Tight Like That

Tampa Red   1929

   Denver Blues

   Whiskey Drinking Blues

      Vocal: Jenny Page

Tampa Red   1932

   You Can't Get That Stuff No More

Tampa Red   1938

   Let Me Play With Your Poodle

Tampa Red   1940

   Don't You Lie To Me

   It Hurts Me Too


Birth of the Blues: Tampa Red

Tampa Red

Source: Short & Sweet

  Curley Weaver had been a popular street musician in Atlanta together with his friend Frank Hicks (Barbecue Bob), and it was Hicks who got Weaver his first recording contract with Columbia records in 1928, cutting 'No No Blues' and 'Sweet Petunia'. Weaver would find himself working with such as Blind Willie McTell, Barbecue Bob and Buddy Moss, and continue to record until 1949. But he would die in 1962 in Georgia while working with the railroad.

Curley Weaver   1928

   No No Blues

   Sweet Petunia

Curley Weaver   1933

   Dirty Mistreater

   Empty Room Blues

Curley Weaver   1934

   Birmingham Gambler

   Some Cold Rainy Day

   Who Stole De Lock


Birth of the Blues: Curley Weaver

Curley Weaver

Source: Wikipedia

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 in 1927 at age eighteen. He was a member of the Memphis Jug Band (Blues 2). 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

   I'll See You In The Spring

Casey Bill Weldon   1928

   Snitchin' Gambler Blues

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. 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. 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 in 1969 during heart valve surgery.

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   1935

   Low Cotton

   Milk Cow Blues

   Sissy Man Blues



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 is largely famous for his long musical relationship with harmonica player Hammie Nixon, they first recording together in 1929. Estes wasn't all that good with a guitar. But he was popular for his vocals until his death of stroke in 1977.

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

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

Source: 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. (More McCoy above.) After her 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 ten years later killed her (1971) while living in a nursing home. Guitarist and singer Bonnie Raitt purchased her headstone in 1996.

Memphis Minnie   1929

   Frisco Town

      With Kansas Joe McCoy

   Pickin' the Blues

   When The Levee Breaks

      With Kansas Joe McCoy

Memphis Minnie   1930

   New Bumble Bee

   Plymouth Rock Blues

Memphis Minnie   1931

   Crazy Cryin' 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. Though writing blues songs as early as 1910 he didn't record anything until 1929, fourteen titles for Paramount Records in Indiana, 'Pony Blues' his first. 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 (1934, mitral valve disorder), about age forty if not quite. His headstone was purchased by Creedence Clearwater vocalist, John Fogerty, in 1990.

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 with 'Trinity River Blues' and 'Wichita Falls Blues'. 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. More T-Bone Walker in A Birth of Rock 1.

T-Bone Walker   1929

   Trinity River Blues

   Wichita Falls Blues

T-Bone Walker   1940

   T-Bone Blues

T-Bone Walker   1942

   Mean Old World

T-Bone Walker   1946

   Bobby Sox Blues

T-Bone Walker   1947

   Call It Stormy Monday

T-Bone Walker   1948

   West Side Baby


Birth of the Blues: T-Bone Walker

T-Bone Walker

Source: Duduki

  Born in Georgia in 1901, Kokomo Arnold was a left-handed slide guitarist who first recorded as Gitfiddle Jim in 1930. Between 1934 and 1938 he recorded 88 sides for Decca Records. In 1938 he quit the music industry to work in a Chicago factory. By the time he 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 in 1968.

Kokomo Arnold   1930


      As Gitfiddle Jim

   Paddlin' Madeline Blues

Kokomo Arnold   1934

   Back Door Blues

   Back to the Woods

   Milk Cow Blues

   Old Black Cat 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 Gals 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 in 1930. He 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 and record several albums. Son House died of larynx cancer in 1988. The tracks below are of poor quality, but they are at least available.

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

   Walking Blues



Birth of the Blues: Charley Jordan

Charley Jordan

Source: Discogs


Next to nothing is known about Charley Jordan but that he took a bullet to the spine in 1928 while bootlegging, thus used crutches. He can be found on other recordings backing musicians such as Peetie Wheatstraw, Roosevelt Sykes, Casey Bill Weldon, Memphis Minnie and Big Joe Williams.

Charley Jordan   1930

   Keep It Clean

   Running Mad 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 in 1930. His 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 with Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, and continued performing. But he had to work various menial jobs for the next couple decades until his career began to revive in 1964 upon a backstage meeting with Josh White at one of the latter's concerts. Moss died 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 Tennessee) began recording in 1930. He produced 161 songs. Only four other pre-war blues musicians were more prolific: Tampa Red, Big Bill Broonzy, Bumble Bee Slim and Lonnie Johnson. Among those he accompanied were Kokomo Arnold in 1936 and '37, titles like 'Running Drunk Again' and 'Shine On, Moon'. Wheatstaw, would have a recording career of only eleven years, as he died at age 39 when the driver of a car he was in collided into a standing freight train and, he drank no more. Wheatstraw's last known recordings were made in November 1941: 'Mister Livingood' and 'Bring Me Flowers While I’m Living'.

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 began his career playing fiddle at square dances. He first recorded for Victor Records in 1930. But the Depression was coming fore and White went nowhere. In 1937 Big Bill Broonzy invited him to Chicago to record. But White was in trouble in Mississippi for recently shooting a man in the thigh. He jumped bail to join Broonzy in Chicago and recorded two tracks before being apprehended and sentenced to three years at Parchman Farm. (He recorded a couple tracks for John Lomax while in prison.) Upon release in 1940 he headed back to Chicago to record such as 'Parchman Farm Blues', below. He then vanished to Memphis to work in a factory. But in 1961 Bob Dylan recorded one his songs, 'Fixin' to Die' (below), on his premier album and 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 died of cancer in 1977.

Bukka White   1930

   Promise True and Grand

Bukka White   1937

   Boogie 'Til DuBuque

   Shake Em' On Down

   Single Man Blues

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

   Drunken Leroy Blues

      Original 1937

Bukka White   1968

   School Learning

Bukka White   1969

   Sad Day Blues


  Geeshie Wiley is another of the more ghostly figures in early blues, nigh everything known about her speculative, even as she was regarded as one of the finest early blues musicians. She is known to have recorded only six songs. Her first record, 'Last Kind Words', was cut in 1930 with 'Skinny Legs' B side.

Geeshie Wiley   1930

   Last Kind Words

   Skinny Legs

Geeshie Wiley   1931

   Eagles On a Half


Birth of the Blues: Geeshie Wiley

Geeshie Wiley

Source: Sunday Blues


Birth of the Blues: Robert Wilkins

Reverend Robert Wilkins

Source: bdla


Robert Wilkins was born in 1896 in Hernando, Mississippi. Said to have become disgusted and disheartened with the world (BTDT), Reverend Robert Wilkins turned away from secular blues toward gospel in the thirties, even becoming an ordained Pentecostal minister. Wilkins died in 1987.

Reverend Robert Wilkins   1930

   Get Away Blues

   Just a Closer Walk With Thee

   That's No Way to Get Along

   Holy Ghost Train

   In Heaven, Sitting Down

   Old Time Religion

   What Do You Think About Jesus


  Bunble Bee Slim (Amos Easton) was about fifteen (1920) when he left home with the Ringling Brothers Circus. By twists and turns he eventually made his first recordings in Chicago in 1931 for Paramount Records (unfound). He recorded for Vocalion Records as well in 1932 ('B & O Blues', also unfound). Slim relocated to Los Angeles in the early forties and began recording again in the fifties, his last album, 'Back In Town', released in 1962. He continued playing in clubs until his death in 1968.

Bumble Bee Slim   1935

   Lemon Squeezing Blues

   Sloppy Drunk Blues

   Smokey Mountain Blues

Bumble Bee Slim   1936

   Meet Me at the Landing

   Slave Man Blues

   When Somebody Loses

Bumble Bee Slim   1937

   Going Back to Florida

   Rising River Blues

   Sometimes Blues

   Woman For Every Man


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 in Bentonia, Mississippi, in 1902, he first recorded for Paramount Records in 1931. But those recordings sold poorly and James faded into obscurity during the Depression. A few blues enthusiasts rediscovered him a few decades later in 1964, whence he began recording again. His rekindled career, however, would be brief, as he died five years later in 1969.

Skip James 1931

   22 20 Blues

   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

   Devil Got My Woman

      Hampton Jazz Festival

   Crow Jane

Skip James 1968

   I'm So Glad

Skip James 1969

   Washington D.C. Hospital Center Blues


  King Solomon Hill (Joe Holmes) was a Delta blues musician who made eight known recordings. He is yet another spectral blues artist about whom little is known and whom no photos identify with certainty.

King Solomon Hill   1932

   Down On My Bended Knee

   Times Has Done Got Hard



Born in 1907 in North Carolina, it was 1935 that Blind Boy Fuller made his first recordings, including 'Rag, Mama, Rag', below. Fuller began losing his eyesight as a teenager. By 24 he was forced to play music on street corners and at house parties, too blind to earn money any other way. Fuller's last recordings took place in NYC in 1940. He died the next year at age 30, said to be largely due to excessive drinking. Harmonica player, Sonny Terry, accompanies Fuller on the last four tracks below.

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

Blind Boy Fuller   1937

   Careless Love

   Georgia Ham Mama

   You Never Can Tell

Blind Boy Fuller   1938

   Piccolo Rag

   Pistol Slapper Blues

Blind Boy Fuller   1939

   I Want Some of Your Pie

Blind Boy Fuller   1940

   Bus Riders Blues

   Harmonica Stomp


Birth of the Blues: Blind Boy Fuller

Blind Boy Fuller

Source: Jas Obrecht Music Archive

Birth of the Blues: Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson

Source: Zwierzenia Rockmana

Robert Leroy Johnson, also a Delta blues guitarist, made his first recording, 'Kind Hearted Woman Blues' in 1936. He would die only two years later, age 27, presumably of a poisoned bottle of whisky.

Robert Johnson 1936

   Kind Hearted Woman Blues

   Come On In My Kitchen

   Crossroad Blues

   I Believe I'll Dust My Broom

   Last Fair Deal Gone Down

   Terraplane Blues


  Born in Hughes Springs, Texas, in 1905, Black Ace (Babe Kyro Lemon Turner) first recorded in 1937. That same year he began his own radio show on KFJZ in Fort Worth on which he played blues tunes until, so far as known, 1941. Drafted into the army in 1943, Ace then quit the music business until 1960 when he recorded an album: 'BK Turner and His Steel Guitar'. 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.

Black Ace   1937

   I Am the Black Ace

   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. He would do the same with Blind Boy Fuller in the thirties. (Floyd Council is the reason for the latter half of the name of the rock band, Pink Floyd. Pink Anderson, above, is the reason for the former half.) Council died of heart attack in 1976.

Floyd Council   1937

   If You Don't Give Me What I Want

      With Blind Boy Fuller

   Poor and Ain't Got a Dime


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, Robert Nighthawk (also known as Robert Lee McCoy) played harmonica as well as guitar. He made his first recordings in 1937 with Henry Townsend, Big Joe Williams and Sonny Boy Williamson I. (All four play together on all but one of the tracks below for year 1937.) Nighthawk also recorded in his own name in 1937, including 'Prowling Night-Hawk' (unfound) and 'CNA' (below). He spent the following years rambling, recording under various pseudonyms both solo and with other musicians, performing on radio and learning slide guitar. Unfortunately Nighthawk never could attain to commercial success and ended up busking on the streets of Chicago. He died a few years afterward in 1967 in Helena, Arkansas.

Robert Nighthawk   1937


      Harmonica: Sonny Boy Williamson I


   My Friend Has Forsaken Me

      Harmonica: Sonny Boy Williamson I

   Tough Luck

      Harmonica: Sonny Boy Williamson I

Robert Nighthawk   1938

   Big Apple Blues

Robert Nighthawk   1940

   Every Day and Night

   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 in Alabama, Robert Petway was a Mississippi Delta bluesman who recorded only 16 songs, beginning in 1941. Social security documents indicate Petway may have died in 1978 in Chicago.

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


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

Jazz Modern - Horn

Jazz Modern - Piano - String

Jazz Modern - Percussion - Latin - Song - Other

Jazz Modern - 1960 to 1970

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

UK Beat - British Invasion

Sixties American Rock - Popular


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