[ The Delta ]

Where the Blues was born.

Before, during, and after Robert Johnson, Blues music has had a connection to Mississippi, The River and The Delta, were the first seeds were planted.

Mississippi, Goddamn”
Nina Simone
1964 — Nina Simone At Carnegie Hall
 ((( protest )))

— joe mazzola

Son House
Charley (Charlie) Patton
Muddy Waters
Willie Dixon — With Muddy Waters, one of the two most influential artists in shaping the sound of Post WWII Chicago Blues.

Juke Joint Jump'”
Elvin Bishop (1975) 

((( LISTEN )))



Down South Jukin'”
Lynyrd Skynyrd (Demo) 1973 

((( song )))


Elmore James
Mississippi-born singer-guitarist Elmore James had one immortal lick: the staccato-and-downhill slide riff in his 1951 adaptation of Robert Johnson‘s “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom.”

“It was a great lick,” says slide guitarist Derek Trucks. “There was something unleashed in his playing, that acoustic guitar with the electric pickup. When he’s singing, you hear his voice through the electric pickup.”

James also scored with sizzling variations of that lick in “Shake Your Moneymaker” and “Stranger Blues,” which became blues-boom standards following his death in 1963.

James’ tone inspired a generation of guitarists: “I practiced 12 hours a day, every day, until my fingers were bleeding, trying to get the same sound as Elmore James got,” Robbie Robertson said. “Then somebody told me that he plays with a slide.”

Trucks particularly loves James’ solo in a 1960 version of “Rollin’ and Tumblin'”:

“It’s real simple, but every note is in the right spot — funky and nasty. Say ‘Play that Elmore lick,’ and everybody knows what to do.”
“Dust My Broom” / “The Sky Is Crying”


1949Mysterious, Funky, and  Hypnotic
John Lee Hooker   

((( song )))


John Lee Hooker
“I don’t play a lot of fancy guitar,” John Lee Hooker once said. “I don’t want to play it. The kind of guitar I want to play is mean, mean licks.” Hooker’s style couldn’t be defined as urban or country blues – it was something entirely his own, mysterious, funky, and hypnotic. On monumental classics like “Boogie Chillen” – a Number One R&B hit in 1949“Boom Boom” and “Crawlin’ King Snake,” he perfected a droning, stomping groove, often in idiosyncratic time signatures and locked on one chord, with an ageless power. “He was a throwback even in his own time,” Keith Richards said. “Even Muddy Waters was sophisticated next to him.” Hooker was a critical figure in the Sixties blues boom; his boogie became the basis for much of ZZ Top‘s early sound, and his songs were covered by everyone from the Doors to Bruce Springsteen. Then, well after turning 70, he won four Grammys in the 1990s. “When I was a child,” Carlos Santana said.  “He was the first circus I wanted to run away with.” — Carlos Santana about John Lee Hooker.
“Boogie Chillen” / “BoomBoom” / “I’m in the Mood”
The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time: John Lee Hooker


Otis Rush
In Chicago in the sixties, “the rules had been laid down” for young, white blues bands, Mike Bloomfield told Rolling Stone in 1968. “You had to be as good as Otis Rush.” That wasn’t easy. A Mississippi native who moved to the Windy City in the late Forties, Rush was a fearsome electric guitarist – with a grittytreble tone and lacerating attack, like a gunslinging cross of Muddy Waters and B.B. King – as well as a knockout songwriter. Along with guitarists like Magic Sam and Buddy Guy, Rush helped create the more modernized, R&B-influenced approach to Chicago blues that came to be known as the West Side Sound. Rush’s impact on later generations was enormous: His late-Fifties and early-Sixties singles were go-to covers for Led Zeppelin (“I Can’t Quit You Baby”), John Mayall (“All Your Love [I Miss Loving]”) and the J. Geils Band (“Homework”), while Stevie Ray Vaughan named his band after Rush’s lethal ’58 lament “Double Trouble.”
“I Can’t Quit You Baby” / “Double Trouble” / “Homework”

Son House
Charley (Charlie) Patton
Willie Dixon

Down South Jukin'”
Lynyrd Skynyrd (Demo) 1973 

((( LISTEN )))

— studio

GREEN BOOK — Green Book builds a feel-good comedy atop an artifact of shameful segregation. Yikes … The movie is named after the early ’60s guides published for black travelers in America’s segregated South. But its spin is all Hollywood. — Vox.com


1949Boom Boom”
John Lee Hooker (Keith Leblanc, Pat Travers)  

((( LISTEN )))

Johnny Winter
Out of all the hopped-up Caucasians who turbocharged the blues in the late Sixties, Texas albino Johnny Winter was both the whitest and the fastest. Songs like his 1969 cover of “Highway 61 Revisited” are astonishing showpieces of his lightningfast thumb-picked electric slide playing. Jimi Hendrix sought him out as a sideman, and Muddy Waters recognized his talent at first glance, becoming a friend and collaborator: “That guy up there onstage – I got to see him up close,” Waters later said. “He plays eight notes to my one!”
Key Tracks: “I’m Yours and I’m Hers,” “Fast Life Rider”


— dave.•





A Florida Journalist, Photographer, and Art Director with an eclectic client list of individuals and organizations with musical, visual, educational, and editorial interests.

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