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MODERN BLUES 1941- PRESENT. ALAN LOMAX A white music historian named Alan Lomax travelled the South making recordings of folk and blues artists for the.

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Presentation on theme: "MODERN BLUES 1941- PRESENT. ALAN LOMAX A white music historian named Alan Lomax travelled the South making recordings of folk and blues artists for the."— Presentation transcript:


2 ALAN LOMAX A white music historian named Alan Lomax travelled the South making recordings of folk and blues artists for the Library of Congress archives. Lomax recorded many of the early blues greats, including Son House and Leadbelly.

3 A TWIST OF FATE In 1941, Lomax went back to Mississippi to find and record a young guitar superstar… named Robert Johnson Unfortunately, he was too late. Johnson was killed three years earlier. However, he did come across a field worker at Stovall Farm by the name of McKinley Morganfield… also known as MUDDY WATERS

4 MUDDY WATERS Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield) was born on April 4, 1915 in Rolling Fork, Mississippi. He was heavily influenced by the music of Son House and Robert Johnson.

5 ROLLING STONE Upon hearing his voice recorded for the first time, Waters decided then and there that he needed to be a professional musician. In 1943, Waters packed up a suitcase with one change of clothes and took his Sears mail order guitar ($11) and moved to Chicago.

6 CHECKMATE In Chicago, Waters crossed paths with Leonard Chess, who was the first to record and release a Muddy Waters record.

7 INVENTING ELECTRICITY The single, “I Can’t Be Satisfied,” became an instant smash hit because it sounded like nothing else on the market… …Muddy Waters used a pickup in his guitar and created “electric blues”

8 THE REVOLUTION BEGINS Over the next ten years, Waters and his band defined the sound of modern electric blues. In fact, his long time harmonica side-man, “Little Walter” Jacobs, took the formula to a new high when he played his “harp” through an amplifier, giving birth to electric harmonica. Little Walter Jacobs

9 MUDDY ’ S BAND Waters began assembling the best musicians that money and success could buy. However, his most important recruit was a brilliant songwriter and bassist by the name of Willie Dixon

10 WILLIE DIXON Many of Muddy Waters’ hits were penned by Willie Dixon. In fact, many of the now “classic” blues songs recorded by anyone in 1940’s were written by Willie Dixon.

11 GIVING PROPS In the 1970’s, rock music icons Led Zeppelin stole many of Dixon’s lyrics for their songs. In fact, one of their biggest hits, “Whole Lotta Love,” borrowed heavily from Dixon. Led Zeppelin gave no credit and paid no royalties to Dixon …that is, until he sued them and won (at least) a million dollars in 1985.

12 ELECTRIC MUD With the help of Leonard Chess and Chess Records, Muddy Waters and his band ushered in a new sound and a new wave of blues artists. While recording for Chess, Waters and Co. created some of the most successful and most covered, imitated and stolen music of all time. Leonard Chess

13 THE WOLF While Waters was in his prime, a new force to be reckoned with appeared on the Chicago blues scene- Chester Burnette, also known as… …HOWLIN’ WOLF

14 THE WOLF Chester A. Burnett aka. Howlin’ Wolf was born on June 10, 1910 in West Point, Mississippi. His father bought him his first guitar when he was 18 and convinced blues legend Charlie Patton to give him lessons.

15 HEADIN ’ NORTH Wolf made his way to Arkansas in 1948. In 1951, he caught the attention of Memphis record producer Sam Phillips, who recorded him. Phillips then leased the recordings to Chess Records, who released them to huge success.

16 WOLF AND SAM To this day, Phillips considers Howlin’ Wolf his greatest “discovery” in the music business. This says quite a lot, considering he also “discovered” these guys: ELVIS PRESLEY JERRY LEE LEWISJOHNNY CASH

17 RIVALS Throughout their careers, Waters and Wolf remained rivals. The rivalry reached it’s peak when Waters tried to “steal” Wolf’s guitarist, Hubert Sumlin. Sumlin returned to Wolf’s band, however, and Wolf threatened to kill Waters if he ever tried to steal him again. He never did.

18 BLUES BOY In Itta Bena, Mississippi in September 1925, Riley B. King was born, also known as B.B. King. In 1947, he hitchhiked to Memphis, TN.

19 BIG BREAK B.B.’s big break came in 1948 when he performed on Sonny Boy Williamson’s radio program in West Memphis. He soon got his own radio show, which became hugely popular.

20 HITTING BIG In the mid 1950’s, he scored a hit with “Three O’Clock Blues.” In 1956, B.B. and his band played an astonishing 342 one-night shows. In the 1970’s, he recorded his biggest hit, a crossover tune called “The Thrill is Gone.”

21 KING OF THE BLUES He has had many hits over the years and continues to record and tour. Even though he is in his 80’s, he still performs over 250 concerts a year. Most blues fans agree that he is the reigning “King of the Blues.”

22 THE BLUES HAD A BABY While B.B., Muddy and the Wolf all enjoyed great success, a “new kid” found his way to Chess Records. Chuck Berry, who fused blues songs with a more up-tempo country feel (later named Rock and Roll), became the next big sensation for Chess.

23 THE PARTY ’ S OVER Unfortunately, the rise of Rock and Roll music meant the decline of blues, and the careers of Waters and Wolf. With Chuch Berry, a new crop of blues- influenced artists filled the airwaves. Elvis Presley, Bo Diddley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, etc. took this “new” music to mainstream America. Basically, blues music (in its new form) had found its way into the homes of white America.

24 OPEN DOORS Because of the success of artists like Chuck Berry, black performers were finally given access to venues and opportunities traditionally kept from them. Sadly, the originators of the electric blues fell into obscurity and found themselves again playing in small dives trying to just make ends meet. …for now.

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