List of Delta blues musicians
The Delta blues is one of the earliest styles of blues music. It originated in the Mississippi Delta, a region of the United States that stretches from Memphis, Tennessee in the north to Vicksburg, Mississippi in the south, the Mississippi River on the west to the Yazoo River on the east. The Mississippi Delta area is famous both for its fertile soil and its extreme poverty. Guitar and harmonica are the dominant instruments used. The vocal styles range from introspective and soulful to passionate and fiery. Below is a list of Delta blues musicians.
- Cecil Augusta – Born in 1920 recorded a single song for Alan Lomax in 1959.
- Mose Allison – Mose John Allison Jr. was born in 1927 in Tippo, Mississippi, a cotton town in the Mississippi delta. By the time Mose was in grade school he was already composing boogie woogie tunes on the piano. His father, a piano stride player himself, encouraged the young Mose in his playing but also taught him the meaning of "work on the farm." Mose plowed cotton with a mule and said once that he is probably one of the few living bluesmen who can honestly make that claim.
- Tommy Bankhead – (c. 1931 – December 16, 2000) Born in Mississippi, Bankhead was a Delta blues guitarist and singer who backed musicians like Howlin' Wolf and Sonny Boy Williamson I, to name just a few. He also performed sometimes on bass guitar and harmonica, and released a few albums under his own name.
- John Henry Barbee – (November 14, 1905 – November 3, 1964) Born in Henning, Tennessee, Barbee was an exponent of early country blues and Delta blues, a fine guitarist and blues singer. He performed early in his career with Sunnyland Slim.
- Robert Belfour – Born September 11, 1940 in Holly Springs, Mississippi, Belfour is a country blues and Delta blues guitarist and singer and fellow collaborator with Mose Vinson. Belfour started recording late in his career, beginning in the 1990s. His latest album, called Pushin' My Luck, was released on the Fat Possum Records label.
- Ishman Bracey – (January 9, 1901 – February 12, 1970) Born in Byram, Mississippi, Bracey was an early country blues and Delta blues guitarist and vocalist who recorded many sessions for Paramount Records.
- Willie Brown (musician) (1900–1952) – guitar, vocals, songwriter
- R. L. Burnside – (November 23, 1926 – September 1, 2005) Born in Oxford, Mississippi, Burnside was an acoustic and electric North Mississippi hill country blues, Delta blues, and juke joint blues guitarist and singer who recorded for a variety of labels, including Fat Possum Records, Highwater Records and Vogue Records, among others.
- Sam Carr – (April 17, 1926 - Sept. 21, 2009), born in Marvell, Arkansas and raised in Dundee, Mississippi, was drummer for The Jelly Roll Kings.
- Bo Carter – (March 21, 1893 – September 21, 1964) Born in Bolton, Mississippi, Carter was one of the first dirty blues musicians with songs like "Banana in Your Fruit Basket", among several others. A country blues multi-instrumentalist who performed mostly early Delta blues, Carter played guitar, banjo, string bass, clarinet and sang. Document Records has an impressive series of issues devoted to his complete recordings.
- James Cotton – Born July 1, 1935 in Tunica, Mississippi, James Cotton is a harmonica blues player and singer who got his start performing the Delta blues, later moving to Chicago and performing Chicago blues. Performing both in acoustic and electric settings, Cotton has recorded dozens of albums for labels like Alligator Records and Verve. He also leads his own James Cotton Blues Band.
- Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup – (August 24, 1905 – March 28, 1974) Born in Forest, Mississippi, Crudup was a guitarist and singer that began his career performing Delta blues. He later moved to Chicago, where he continued performing Delta blues and also Chicago blues, both in acoustic and electric environments. It was not until the blues revival of the 1960s that Crudup received widespread appreciation from audiences, performing until his death.
- Delta Blind Billy A blind bluesman known for being an outlaw.
- David Honeyboy Edwards (June 28, 1915 – August 29, 2011) Born in Shaw, Mississippi, Edwards was a Grammy Award-winning Delta blues guitarist and singer from the American South. At the time of his death he was arguably the last Delta blues player remaining from the last century.
- Jessie Mae Hemphill
- King Solomon Hill (1897, McComb, Mississippi – 1949, Sibley, Louisiana)
- John Lee Hooker – (August 22, 1917 – June 21, 2001) Born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, Hooker was an acoustic and electric guitarist and singer who was perhaps the most well known exponent of the Delta blues sound, though he also performed Detroit blues. He also recorded countless albums under the names of Texas Slim, Delta John and, of course, John Lee Hooker.
- Elmore James – (January 27, 1918 – May 24, 1963) Born in Richland, Mississippi, James was a slide guitarist on acoustic and electric guitars and also a singer. He performed both Delta blues and Chicago blues, though he is most well known for the latter. His technique influenced a generation of guitarists that followed.
- Robert Johnson - (May 8, 1911 – August 16, 1938)
- Junior Kimbrough – (July 28, 1930 – January 17, 1998) Born in Hudsonville, Mississippi with the first name of David, Kimbrough was a guitarist and singer of North Mississippi hill country blues, Delta blues and juke joint blues. He performed both acoustic and electric guitar, and recorded several albums for the Fat Possum Records label.
- Sonny Boy Nelson - (December 23, 1908 – November 4, 1998)
- Charley Patton - (between April 1887 and 1891 – April 28, 1934)
- Pinetop Perkins – ( July 7, 1913, as Joseph William Perkins – 21. 3. 2011), was an American Blues musician. He had played with some of the most influential blues and rock and roll performers in American history, and received honors that include the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and induction into the Blues Hall of Fame.
- Robert Petway
- Doctor Ross – (October 21, 1925 – May 28, 1993) Born in Tunica, Mississippi as Charles Isaiah Ross, Ross was a harmonica player, guitarist and singer of country blues, Delta blues, Detroit blues and juke joint blues. He recorded several albums from the 1960s to 1990s for a variety of labels, including Fortune Records and JSP Records.
- Johnny Shines - (April 26, 1915 – April 20, 1992)
- J.D. Short
- Henry "Son" Sims
- Freddie Spruell
- Houston Stackhouse
- Muddy Waters – (April 4, 1915 – April 30, 1983) Born in Rolling Fork, Mississippi as McKinley Morganfield, slide guitarist Waters began his career playing the Delta blues. However, he is most known as a Chicago blues musician. He is easily one of the more recognizable names in blues music.
- Bukka White
- Geeshie Wiley
- Big Joe Williams
- Sonny Boy Williamson II
- Johnny Woods
- Elder Roma Wilson - (December 22, 1910)
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