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Delta Blues Music
One of the earliest styles of blues music, the Delta Blues originated in the Mississippi Delta region and is often referred to as "the land where the blues were born." It was first recorded in the late 1920s and was some of the first black guitar-driven music to be recorded. The Delta was a very fertile ground for the roots of the blues. Times were hard, with the recent history of slavery, racial oppression and tensions, poverty, Illiteracy, oppressive heat and other factors all fueling the expressive music.
The music was passionate and emotional and helped to document the experiences of southern blacks better than any other form of cultural expression. Artists usually traveled north to record, and most of the Delta Bluesmen recorded alone with their guitars, however, for live appearances, they often travelled with a string band.
Bluesmen like Charley Patton, Son House, Blind Willie McTell, Skip James and Robert Johnson all helped to catapult this art form to international prominence. The next generation, with the likes of Muddy Waters joining the mass exodus of blacks from the rural south in the 40s and 50s, took the blues north, where it was electrified in cities like Memphis and Chicago; with Chicago eventually eclipsing the Delta as the center of the blues.
Nevertheless, the Mississippi Delta has produced the largest number of influential and important blues artists including John Lee Hooker and the blues remains the emotional heart of the music and the form continues with new musicians working the older bluesmens' traditions and styles.
Popular Delta Blues Artists