Category Archives: Delta Blues

Blues Theology, Part 2: “Me and the Devil” (Blues Stories, 16)

[NOTE: Thus far, we’ve looked at the birth of the Blues in the Mississippi Delta and reviewed in rather broad terms the charge that, for many African Americans, the Blues was the “Devil’s Music.” In this post, we’ll look at … Continue reading

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Blues Theology, Part 1: The “Devil’s Music” (Blues Stories, 15)

[Note: In previous posts [here and here], we have looked at the origins of the Blues in the Mississippi Delta and seen that life for Delta blacks involved hard physical labor, rigid segregation, and shocking violence. Among the few places … Continue reading

Posted in "Charley Patton", Age of Jim Crow, B.B. King, Big Bill Broonzy, Delta Blues, History, Interdisciplinary Work, Research, Son House, Southern History, The Blues, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Age of Jim Crow, B.B. King, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Civil Rights Movement, Delta Blues, History, Research, Retirement, Southern History, The Blues, Uncategorized, Urban Blues | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

Son House–Preacher, Killer, “Father of the Delta Blues” (Blues Stories, 10)

A review of Daniel Beaumont, Preachin’ the Blues: The Life & Times of Son House. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. [Note:  The cover picture on the double compact disc, “Son House: Father of the Delta Blues: The … Continue reading

Posted in "Charley Patton", Alan Lomax, American History, Books, Delta Blues, History, Research, Retirement, Robert Johnson, Son House, Southern History, Teaching, The Blues | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Big Bill Broonzy–The Blues Man as Pragmatist (Blues Stories, 9)

A Review of Robert Riesman, I Feel So Good:  The Life and Times of Big Bill Broonzy.  Chicago and London:  The University of Chicago Press, 2011. [NOTE:  2011 was a very good year for Blues biographies:  three reputable university presses … Continue reading

Posted in Alan Lomax, Big Bill Broonzy, Books, Chicago Blues, Delta Blues, History, Muddy Waters, Research, Retirement, Southern History, The Blues | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Never Get Out of These Blues Alive”–John Lee Hooker (1917-2001) [Blues Stories, 8]

John Lee Hooker was a true survivor. A native of the Mississippi Delta, he fled that region’s endless toil and painful, humiliating racism during the Great Depression, eventually settling in 1943 in Detroit, which remained his base until the early … Continue reading

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Electric Mud–The Life and Music of Muddy Waters,1915-1983 (Blues Stories, 7)

Muddy Waters (April 14, 1915-April 30, 1983) was born McKinley A. Morganfield in Rolling Fork, Mississippi. His family moved farther north, to the Stovall Plantation near Clarksdale, when he was about three, and it was there that he eventually taught … Continue reading

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