Texas & Delta Blues Guitar

posted in: Acoustic Blues | 0

Texas Blues
Texas Blues began to appear in the early 1900s among African Americans who worked in oilfields, ranches and lumber camps. In the 1920s, Blind Lemon Jefferson innovated the style by using jazz-like improvisation and single string accompaniment on a guitar; Jefferson’s influence defined the field and inspired later performers, like Lightnin’ Hopkins and T-Bone Walker.

During the Great Depression in the 1930s, many bluesmen moved to cities like Galveston, Houston and Dallas. It was from these urban centers that a new wave of popular performers appeared, including slide guitarist and gospel singer Blind Willie Johnson and legendary vocalist Big Mama Thornton.[1] T-Bone Walker relocated to Los Angeles to record his most influential work in the 1940s.[1] His R&B influenced backing and saxophone imitating lead guitar sound would become an influential part of the electric blues sound that would be perfected in Chicago by artists like Muddy Waters.[1]

The state R&B recording industry was based in Houston with labels like Duke/Peacock, which in the 1950s provided a base for artists who would later pursue the electric Texas blues sound, including Johnny Copeland and Albert Collins.[1] Freddie King, a major influence on electric blues, was born in Texas, but moved to Chicago as a teenager.[1] His instrumental number “Hide Away” (1961), was emulated by British Blues artists including Eric Clapton.[2] (Source From Wikipedia).

Delta Blues
Although Delta blues certainly existed in some form or another at the turn of the 20th century, it was first recorded in the late 1920s, when record companies realized the potential African American market in Race records. The earliest recordings were by the major labels and consist mostly of one person singing and playing an instrument, though the use of a band was more common during live performances.

Some of these recordings were made on field trips to the South by record company talent scouts, but some Delta blues performers were invited to travel to northern cities to record. According to Dixon & Godrich [1981], Tommy Johnson and Ishman Bracey were recorded by Victor on that company’s second field trip to Memphis, in 1928. Robert Wilkins was first recorded by Victor in Memphis in 1928, and Big Joe Williams and Garfield Akers also in Memphis (1929) by Brunswick/Vocalion.

Son House first recorded in Grafton, Wisconsin (1930) by Paramount. Charley Patton also recorded for Paramount in Grafton, in June 1929 (and again, at the same location in May 1930). In January and February 1934 Patton visited New York City for further recording sessions. Robert Johnson traveled to San Antonio (1936) and Dallas (1937) for his ARC, and only, sessions.

Subsequently, the early Delta blues (as well as other genres) were extensively recorded by John Lomax and his son Alan Lomax, who criss-crossed the Southern US recording music played and sung by ordinary people helping establish the canon of genres we know today as American folk music. Their recordings number in the thousands, and now reside in the Smithsonian Institution.

According to Dixon & Godrich (1981) and Leadbitter and Slaven (1968), Alan Lomax and the Library of Congress researchers did not record any Delta bluesmen (or women) prior to 1941, when he recorded Son House and Willie Brown near Lake Cormorant, Mississippi, and Muddy Waters at Stovall, Mississippi, however this claim is disputed as John and Alan Lomax did record Bukka White in 1939, Lead Belly in 1933 and most likely others.

(Source From Wikipedia).