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Blues in the Community “Pre-War Blues” 1900-1945 Dr. Will Williamson Alona Williamson a.k.a “Mosby Territory” Sponsored by the DC Blues Society

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Presentation on theme: "Blues in the Community “Pre-War Blues” 1900-1945 Dr. Will Williamson Alona Williamson a.k.a “Mosby Territory” Sponsored by the DC Blues Society"— Presentation transcript:

1 Blues in the Community “Pre-War Blues” 1900-1945 Dr. Will Williamson Alona Williamson a.k.a “Mosby Territory” Sponsored by the DC Blues Society


3 “St. James Infirmary”

4 Overview Who we are: – “Mosby Territory” – Blues, Rock, Folk and Country singer/songwriter duo – What we will cover: – History – People – Instruments – Songs Discussing blues history with blues giant Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna)

5 Why “Pre-War” (before WW2) Blues? Two important changes occurred in the 1940’s Large scale migration of rural black population to cities to work in wartime factories during World War II – Jazz-influenced blues became the “in” thing and “country blues” was viewed as backwards – More Musicians on your block Invention of the electric guitar – Much more aggressive sounds – Bass and guitar divided what was done on one guitar in country blues and got more specialized This led to more band-based blues than individuals / duos


7 First Published Blues Song - 1912

8 Mamie Smith: “Crazy Blues” First recording by African-American First Recorded Blues hit (1920) Full Jazz Band

9 But did it start there?

10 European Influences

11 THE 1920’S

12 Prohibition and the roaring 20’s When was prohibition?? 1920—1931 Blues in clubs and ‘speakeasies’ Blues in house parties and rent parties – “Blues on the Block” Single women in cities – Modern Millie?

13 Women & The Blues Was Blues a Woman’s Genre? – History in Black Community – Perception in Jazz Recording Domestic violence New found “freedom” Lifestyle… (loose)

14 Bessie Smith: “ Taint Nobody’s Business”

15 Ma Rainey, Ida Cox, Victoria Spivey, Lucille Brogan, Ethel Waters, Alberta Hunter:

16 Blind Blake “ West Coast Blues” 1926

17 Bessie Smith: “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out”

18 Collapse of recording industry in 1930’s Causes: Great Depression, Radio Effects: – Many players “lost” not to be “rediscovered” until 1960’s – Live music in small venues – Radio and travelling musicians spread music out of regional microcosms


20 Percussion in Early Blues Drums were outlawed…

21 Keeping it Simple: The Diddley Bo to the Slide Guitar Son House (1902-1988) “Walking Blues” Diddley Bo Bo Diddley Charlie Patton (c.1888 – 1934)

22 Blind Willie Johnson: “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” 1927

23 More sophisticated Instruments


25 Regional Blues Styles See

26 Birthplace of Modern Blues: The Mississippi “Delta” Region

27 A Life Filled with Blues: Sharecropping in the Delta

28 “Mississippi County Farm Blues”, Son House: 1930 Son House: 1902-1988

29 Ramblin’ on my Mind: The Travelling Blues Singer “Juke Joints” Robert Johnson (1911-1938) “Crossroad Blues”

30 Robert Johnson: “Kindhearted Woman”, 1936 Robert Johnson (1911-1938)

31 Skip James: “Devil’s Got My Woman” 1931

32 Mississippi John Hurt “Lay My Burden Down”

33 Piedmont Blues

34 Elizabeth Cotton: “Freight Train” 19xx

35 Gary Davis (1896-1972) “I Heard the Angels Singing”

36 Texas Blues Blind Willie Johnson “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”

37 Blind Lemon Jefferson: “Matchbox Blues” 1927

38 Lightning Hopkins: “Come Back Baby” 1950’s


40 Chicago Blues: The Great Flood of 1927 & The Great Migration Black Population 1990 Black Population 1900

41 Memphis Minnie: “Bumble Bee”

42 Big Bill Broonzy: “Pig Meat Strut/Hey Hey” 193x

43 Jug Bands and Ensembles

44 Racial Divisions Market segmentation by recording labels Musicians transcended these barriers but still were constrained by markets

45 Hillbilly Blues – The Delmour Brothers: “Big River Blues” 1933

46 Broadway and the Blues George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” : “Summertime” 1935

47 Folk Musicology in the 1940’s Son House Muddy Waters Bukka White

48 Blind Willie McTell: “Statesboro Blues”

49 McKinley Morganfield: “Can’t Be Satisfied”, 1941

50 Catfish Blues a.k.a. Rolling Stone, The Stars, the Almost Forgotten, and the Forgotten And forgotten Bluesman Tom Toy…


52 Blues on Your Block: DC Blues Society – Free Jams Electric Jam every 1 st Sunday 4-8pm Silver Spring, MD Acoustic Jam every 4 th Sunday 11 am – 2 pm The Mansion at O Street, Washington DC

53 Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation Acoustic Jam Every Saturday 1-6 pm Riverdale, MD

54 DCBS Annual Free Concert Labor Day Weekend at Carter Barron Amphitheater in Washington, DC NEXT WEEKEND!!!! 26 th Annual FREE DC Blues Festival Saturday, August 30, 2014 Noon-7:30pm

55 Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival Annapolis, MD every May

56 Books & Videos: History

57 Books and Videos: Learn to Play the Blues!

58 Take a Blues Vacation? John Hurt’s Cabin Avalon MS Delta Blues Museum Clarksdale, MS Or watch a video of someone else’s trip…

59 Bonnie Raitt / Chris Smither: “Love Me / You Like a Man”

60 Blues in the Community Slides are available at: Dr. Will Williamson Alona Williamson Sponsored by the DC Blues Society


62 Bukka White: “Aberdeen Blues”,

63 Mance Lipscomb: “” 19xx

64 Lead Belly : “Midnight Special” 19xx


66 Chicago Blues 2: Electric Guitars and Big Bands

67 Gary Davis (1896-1972) Extensive Recordings 1955-1966 Blind Gary Davis “Hesitation Blues” Rev. Gary Davis “I Heard the Angels Singing”

68 Hillbilly Blues – Frank Hutchison: “???” 192x

69 Mance Lipscomb: “” 19xx

70 Oh, By the way… Pink Anderson Floyd Council

71 Nobody’s Fault But Mine In My Time of Dying Jesus Gonna Make Up My Dying Bed When The Levee Breaks

72 Keeping the Blues Alive: Hot Tuna – Acoustic and Electric 197040 yrs Later

73 T-Bone Walker: “Stormy Monday” 19xx

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