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Charlie Patton painting © Copyright 2004 Loz Arkle
Painting © 2004 Loz Arkle

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What is the Blues?
Background to Blues
Chronology of Blues
Artists & Bands Index
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Hero. Legend. Good Bloke.
John Peel OBE, 1939 - 2004

Red Lick Records



Chronology of Blues on Record

1920---Vaudeville-blues-lst. blues record, "Crazy Blues”, Mamie Smith.

1920/1921/1922---lst. recordings by vaudeville-blues artists: Edith Wilson, Lucille Hegamin & Her Blue Flame Syncopators, etc.

1923---Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith recording debut; also Clara Smith, Rosa Henderson, etc. First rural blues artist to record-some guitar instrumentals by Sylvester Weaver; included “Guitar Rag” which several years later, the white Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys adapted as the country music classic “Steel Guitar Rag”. Also the 1st. ‘field recording’ (i.e. made outside New York or Chicago) done by Lucille Bogan, in the vaudeville-blues style. 1924---1st. jug bands recorded; Old Southern Jug Band, etc. First 3 male, rural, blues singers to get on disc: Ed Andrews, Daddy Stovepipe & Papa Charlie Jackson.

1925/1926---Blind Lemon Jefferson is first ‘hard’ blues singer to record; also Bo Weavil Jackson, Blind Blake & Mr. Freddie Spruell, the 1st. Delta-style bluesman on wax. Also Peg Leg Howell from Georgia.

1927---Blind Willie McTell & Barbecue Bob recording debut--also Frank Stokes, Memphis Jug Band. 1st. blues singer from Carolinas: Julius Daniels. Lucille Bogan changes to raw rural blues style.

1928---Recording debut of Tommy Johnson, Robert Wilkins, Cannon’s Jug Stompers, Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell, etc. 1st. blues using ‘hokum’ in the title, by Coley Jones & Dallas String Band. And 1st. use of ‘boogie woogie’, by Pine Top Smith.

1929---Charley Patton’s 1st. recording. 1st. version on wax of “Roll & Tumble Blues”, by Hambone Willie Newbern. 1st. record of”44 Blues”, by Lee Green. Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe start recording.

1930---Bukka White & Son House recording debut; also Peetie Wheatstraw.

1932---Paramount Records (the major ‘race’ record label) goes bust -- cutback on all recording sessions as Great Depression deepens.

1933---1st. Leadbelly sides, for Library of Congress; supervised by John Lomax.

1934---First of Sante Fe group of pianists to record; by the name of Rob Cooper.

1935---1st. discs by Blind Boy Fuller, Blind Gary Davis, Casey Bill, Washboard Sam & Poor/Big Joe Williams. including latter’s “Baby Please Don’t Go”. Leadbelly’s 1st. commercial records for A.R.C. More urbanised blues appearing by such artists as Jazz Gillum, Washboard Sam, Big Bill Broonzy, etc.

1936---Robert Johnson’s 1st. records. More Texas blues pianists get on disc: Andy Boy, Pinetop Burkes, etc.

1937---First discs by “Sonny Boy” John Lee Williamson, including “Good Morning, School Girl”.

1938---Big Joe Turner records with boogie woogie man, Pete Johnson. 1st. electric guitar in blues, played by white jazzman, George Barnes; on a record by Jazz Gillum for Bluebird label.

1941---1st. record of Catfish Blues”, by Robert Petway, & “Crosscut Saw”, by Tony Hollins. Both songs are from Tommy McClennan, who also recorded them. Recording debut of Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup (Presley’s mentor). Muddy Water’s 1st. recordings, for Library of Congress.

1942---Strike declared by James Petrillo, President of the American Federation of Musicians (A.F.M.) against the record companies & juke box operators. The strike + strict rationing of shellac (used in making 78’s), effectively stopped blues recordings. The Petrillo ban lasted until 1944; the ban meant no studio recordings for the duration.

© Copyright 2004 Max Haymes 

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