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Delta blues

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Delta blues

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Delta blues are named for the Mississippi Delta. Delta blues are named for the Mississippi Delta.

The Delta blues is one of the earliest styles of blues music. It originated in the Mississippi Delta, a region of the United States that stretches from Memphis, Tennessee in the north to Vicksburg, Mississippi in the south, the Mississippi River on the west to the Yazoo River on the east. Slide guitar and harmonica dominate the instruments used. The vocals range from introspective and soulful to passionate and fiery.

Delta blues music was first recorded in the late 1920s. The early recordings consist mostly of one person singing and playing an instrument, though the use of a band was more common during live performances. The recording of early Delta blues (as well as other genres) owes much to John Lomax, who criss-crossed the Southern US recording music played and sung by ordinary people. His recordings number in the thousands, and now reside in the Smithsonian Institution.

"Delta blues" is a style as much as a geographical appellation: Skip James and Elmore James, who were not born in the Delta, were considered Delta blues musicians. Performers traveled throughout the Mississippi Delta Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and Tennessee. Eventually, Delta blues spread out across the country, giving rise to a host of regional variations, including Chicago and Detroit blues.

Scholars disagree as to whether there is a substantial, musicological difference between blues that originated in this region and in other parts of the country. The defining characteristic of Delta blues would seem to be instrumentation and an emphasis on rhythm; the basic harmonic structure is not substantially different from that of blues performed elsewhere.

Because the Mississippi Delta was essentially feudal in the 1920s and earlier, and the plantation system was oppressive, there existed a subculture of blues artists who were refugees from that system.

The Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman Farm was an important influence on several blues musicians who were imprisoned there, and was referenced in songs such as Bukka White's 'Parchman Farm Blues' and Leadbelly's 'Midnight Special'. Thus Delta blues can refer to one of the first pop-music subcultures as well as to a performing style.

List of artists

Ishman Bracey
Willie Brown
R. L. Burnside
Sam Chatmon
James Cotton
Mike Cross
Arthur Crudup
David Honeyboy Edwards (1915- ) Delta blues singer and guitarist, a friend of Robert Johnson
T-Model Ford
Earl Hooker
Son House (1902-1988) Highly influential blues singer and guitarist from Mississippi.
John Lee Hooker (1917-2001) Blues singer and guitarist, known as a pioneer of Detroit blues
Mississippi John Hurt (1892-1966)
Skip James (1902-1969) American blues singer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter
Robert Johnson (1911-1938) Likely the most famous and influential Delta blues singer and guitarist
Tommy Johnson
Paul Jones
Robert Lockwood Jr.
Tommy McClennan
Mississippi Fred McDowell
Charley Patton (1891-1934) One of the first "stars" of Delta blues
Paul Pena
Johnny Shines
Henry Sloan Mentor to Patton
Sunnyland Slim
Geechie Temple
Hound Dog Taylor
Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield (1915-1983) Legendary blues artist, better known as a pioneer of Chicago blues
Bukka White
Big Joe Williams
Elmo Williams

External links


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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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