The blues
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The Blues. The blues is a 12 bar structure The blues is a combination of West African Rhythms, Call and Response pattern, And Western European chord structure. The blues evolution began on Beale Street in Memphis Tennessee Beale Street is the Broadway of Blues music.

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The Blues

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The blues

The Blues


The blues1

The blues is a 12 bar structure

The blues is a combination of West African Rhythms,

Call and Response pattern, And Western European chord structure.

The blues evolution began on Beale Street in Memphis Tennessee

Beale Street is the Broadway of Blues music

Blue Notes add color and texture to a song, extra added harmony

The blues scale is 1 b3 4 #4 5 b7 1.

This is the primary scale all blues musicians use

The 12 bar blues structure became standard in the 1920’s.

This structure influenced rock and roll.

Is the same structure for rock and roll songs

The Blues


The blues2

Blues and Country music got their start around the same time in the early 20th century

Blues was “race” music

Country was “hillbilly” music

First Blues song was Memphis Blues by W. C. Handy, recorded in 1912

Country Blues was first started in the south, used slide guitar.

Leadbelly, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Blake were first county blues artists.

Artists sang Solo, on banjo or guitar was big influence on Delta blues

Delta Blues from Mississippi Delta

slide guitar, harmonica

best delta blues musician was Robert Johnson

The Blues


The blues3

Memphis blues was established in Memphis Tennessee

Influenced by Jug bands. Washboards, fiddles, kazoo, mandolin

Memphis blues musicians moved to Chicago and created Chicago blues or Urban Blues

Used electric instruments.

Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker were important Chicago blues musicians

Mamie Smith, Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, popular female blues singers of the 1920’s

Mamie Smith was first black woman to record a blues song in 1920

called Crazy Blues. 75,000 copies sold in the first month of release

MA Rainey was the mother of the blues.

The Blues


The blues4

Jump blues was started in Kansas City by Big Joe Turner

Influenced by Stride Piano version of ragtime music

direct influence on Boogie Woogie early rock and roll of Little Richard and Jerry lee Lewis

B.B. King is most influential and important modern blues guitarist

influenced musicians like Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Eric Clapton

Albert King, Buddy Guy influential modern day blues musicians

Had major influence on British rock and rollers like Rolling Stones, Cream,

Lead Zeppelin, Jimmi Hendrix

The Blues


The blues5

Texas rock and roll was influenced by Texas blues musicians like Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Influenced Southern rock bands like ZZ top, Lynard Skynard, Doobie Brothers

The movie The Blues Brothers was released in 1980 Was an important movie about the blues

featured blues music and blues musicians.

Created a renewed interest in blues music and restarted the careers of many blues artists.

W.C. Handy award is the award for best blues artists,

is the Grammy for Blues music

The Blues


W c handy

W. C. handy

  • Known as the Father of the Blues

  • First educated musician

  • Born in a log cabin built by his grandfather

  • Deeply religious, religious themes in his music


W c handy1

Started to learn the guitar, switched to trumpet

Age 23 led his own band, performed at the Chicago Worlds Fair in 1893

Toured the county until 1900 Accepted teaching position at Alabama Agriculture and Mechanical College for Negroes.

Only Negro college in Alabama

1903 resigned from teaching for lack of pay. Started touring again

1909 moved to Memphis, recorded Memphis Blues in 1912

Became music publisher in 1917 because blacks could not get music published

Moved to New York City to open publishing company

Published Beale street blues and Kansas City Blues

1920 opened Handy record Company

W. C. Handy


W c handy2

1925 Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong recorded his St. Louis Blues

In 1926 became an author.

Wrote anthologies of blues music

Wrote 5 books

1929 St. Louis Blues was made into a movie starring Bessie Smith

Was considered one of the worlds greatest musicians and song writers

W. C. Handy


Ma rainey

Ma Rainey

  • 1886- 1939

  • Considered the mother of the blues

  • Earliest known professional blues singers


Ma rainey1

Mentor and major influence on Bessie Smith

First public performance was at age 14

1904 joined the Rabbit Foot Minstrels

1912 met Bessie Smith, took her under her wing

Trained her in stage presence and how to be a performer

out spoken supported of women’s rights

1923 made her first recordings

Signed with Paramount records, recorded 100 songs

Great Depression hurt her career, retired in 1933

Ma Rainey


Bessie smith

Bessie Smith

  • 1894-1937

  • Most popular and successful blues singer of the 1920’s

  • Enormous influence on modern singers

  • like Janis Joplin, Nora Jones, Billie Holliday and Mahalia Jackson


Bessie smith1

Bessie Smith

  • started singing with her brother on the streets of Tennessee

  • 1904 brother left to join minstrel show

  • 1912 he returns to take Bessie with him

  • Joined the Moses Stokes Theater Company

  • Met Ma Rainey

  • 1913 developed her own act.


Bessie smith2

1920 started to gain fame

1923 Joined the TOBA

First big hit was Down Hearted Blues

Became highest paid black performer

Was the Madonna or Beyonce of her time

1929 performed in her first Broadway play

1929 stared in the movie St Louis Blues

A “talkie” movie that was written with her in mind to star in

1933 signed with Okeh music label was paid $37.50 per recording

Recorded with the likes of Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman

Bessie Smith


Bessie smith3

September 1937 injured in car wreck on US 61

Since she was black she was forced to go to a segregated Afro- Hospital

that was 4 hours away from crash site

instead of the white hospital that was 45 mins away.

Arm was amputated and died from complication

recanted in the book Death of Bessie Smith in 1959

Bessie Smith


Robert johnson

Most famous Delta Blues musician

Did not start recording until 1935

influenced many modern musicians like Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones

Recorded only 29 songs total of 42 tracks, over 2 day period in San Antonio Texas

Most famous song was Sweet Home Chicago

legend says he sold his soul to the Devil at the crossroads

US 61 and US 49 in Mississippi

considered greatest blues singers of all times

Robert Johnson


Robert johnson1

Used raw emotion in his lyrics,

used bass strings on his guitar for melody

this is opposite of usual guitar playing

Many musicians have recorded his songs.

Movies like The Blues Brothers, O Brother, Where Art Thou, and Crossroads have cameo story lines on his life

Robert Johnson


Lead belly

Lead Belly

  • Huddie William Leadbetter

  • 1885-1949

  • Folk and blues musician

  • One of the first guitarists to use 12 strings


Lead belly1

Lead Belly

  • Wrote folk music and blues song book

  • started playing guitar at 5 years old

  • At age 20 he left home to become a musician

  • Worked as a musician and laborer (handy man etc)


Lead belly2

1918 first trouble with the law

Thrown in jail for killing man in a bar fight.

Would be in and out of prison most of his life

Was stabbed in prison and survived. Which is how he got his nick name

1930 was discovered by Alan Lomax while in prison

Recorded his music for book history of the blues

Wrote a song to the governor of Louisiana

He liked the song so much was granted parole

1934 moved to New York

Recorded with American Record Company

1939 back in prison for assult, 15th time in jail

Lead Belly


Lead belly3

released in 1940 became hero of folk musicians

1949 European tour

Became ill

Diagnosed with Lou Gerigs disease

Wrote huge song book for folk and blues music

Has been recorded by thousands of musicians

Wrote famous songs like

Black Betty

House of the Rising Sun

Lead Belly


Big joe turner

Big Joe Turner

  • 1911-1985

  • Boss of the Blues

  • From Kansas City

  • Wrote hit rock and roll song Shake, rattle and Roll

  • One of the first to mix R&B with boogie-woogie, resulting in jump blues


Big joe turner1

Big Joe Turner

  • Shake Rattle and Roll is one of the first rock and roll hits

  • The originator of Jump Blues

  • Was a huge man, almost 6 foot tall and rarely used a microphone


Big joe turner2

Was main influence on Bill Haley and the Comets and Elvis Presley

won award for best blues singer in 1945

Worked as a bouncer, bartender and singer in Kansas city

Teamed up with piano player Pete Johnson to create the fist jump blues band

Worked with Johnson well into the 1950’s

Went on Alan Freed Tours with Fats Domino, the Clovers, Bo Diddley and other pioneers of rock and roll

Last hit was The 1983 album Blues Train

Big Joe Turner


Muddy waters

Muddy Waters

  • 1915-1983

  • Father of Chicago Blues

  • 1930 bought first guitar

  • recorded by Alan Lomax for history of blues recordings


Muddy waters1

Muddy Waters

  • 1943 moved to Chicago

  • Switched from acoustic to electric guitar

  • used bottle neck style of playing

  • 1946 first recordings for Columbia records


Muddy waters2

used guitar, bass, rhythms section, first to use trio type setting

direct influence on rock and roll

1960’s rock stars site him as major influence because of his singing and playing

Influenced major rock stars of the 60’s to present

He created the Power Trio setting

influenced Chuck Berry and other rock stars

Rolling stones named their band after one of his hit songs.

Led Zepplin recorded his song Whole Lotta Love

Influnence on AC/DC, The Who, The Beatles, Nirvana, etc

Muddy Waters


John lee hooker

John Lee Hooker

  • 1917-2001

  • influential Chicago blues guitarist

  • famous songs were Boom Boom and Boogie Chillin’

  • ran away from home at 15 to become a musician


John lee hooker1

John Lee Hooker

  • 1930s worked on Beal Street to make a name for himself

  • Moved to Detroit in the 1940’s to work for Ford motor company

  • Started recording career

  • Boogie Chillin was first hit


John lee hooker2

he was illiterate, could not read or write

Known for his dramatic lyrics

sang in the movie the blues brothers

1989 received a Grammy award for his album the healer

recorded over 100 albums

Star on the Hollywood walk of fame in 1991

Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Has 2 songs on top 500 songs of all time

Inducted into the blues hall of fame

2000 Grammy award for life time achievement

John Lee Hooker


B b king

B.B. King

  • born in 1925

  • Best modern day blues musician

  • Lucille is the name of his guitar, named after his wife

  • started performing in the 1940’s

  • Is a good humanitarian and spokesman for diabetic causes.


B b king1

B.B. King

  • 1947 started recording for RPM records

  • Produced by Sam Phillips, who found Elvis.

  • Was nick named Beale Street Blues Boy

  • Was a D.J. on Beal Street in Memphis

  • Shortened name to B.B


B b king2

1962 signed with Paramount records

First major hit in 1969 with The Thrill is Gone

Opening act for the Rolling stones

from 1951-1985 appeared on Bill board top 10 charts 74 times

1988 performed with U2 on Rattle and Hum

2000 performed with Eric Clapton on Riding with the King

2003 performed with Phish

2006 age of 80- European tour

Huge influence on modern day guitarists and rock musicians

1990 received national Medal of Arts

2004 PHD from University of Mississippi

2006 Presidential Medal of Freedom

14 Grammy Awards

number 3 on the list of 100 greatest guitar players

Favorite singer is Frank Sinatra

B. B. King


Buddy guy

Buddy Guy

  • 1936- present

  • Rock and Chicago blues guitarist

  • Main influence on Jimi Hendrix

  • Father of Rapper Shawnna

  • Known for his showmanship

  • Plays guitar behind his back

  • Gave Hendrix idea for stage gimmicks


Buddy guy1

Buddy Guy

  • moved to Chicago in 1957

  • Met and taught by Muddy Waters

  • 1960 influence felt on British bands

  • American Folk Blues festival in London

  • Eric Clapton, Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart


Buddy guy2

1969 headliner on concert that featured Eric Clapton and Led Zeppelin

Bridge between blues and rock and roll

Huge influence on Stevie Ray Vaughn, Clapton, Zeppelin, Hendrix, Rolling Stones,

Used distortion, and feed back (like Hendrix)

Buddy Guy was to blues what Elvis was to Rock

Inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

5 Grammy awards

23 W. C. Handy awards

Billboard Musician of the Century award

Congressional Medal of Arts

Buddy Guy


Stevie ray vaughn

Stevie Ray Vaughn

  • 1954-1990

  • one of the most influential modern blues guitarists

  • Huge influence on southern rock

  • Band was named Double Trouble


Stevie ray vaughn1

Stevie Ray Vaughn

  • Influence on ZZ Top, Lynard Skynard, Doobie Brothers

  • performed with David bow on his hits China Girl and Let’s Dance

  • top selling records in the 1980s before drug addiction aught up with him


Stevie ray vaughn2

Stevie Ray Vaughn

  • After stint in rehab re-invented his career

  • Played with Clapton and the fabulous Thunderbirds

  • Died in Helicopter crash in 1990

  • Number 7 on the top 100 guitarists of all times


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