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The Mississippi Blues Tradition and the Origins of the Blues

The Mississippi Blues Tradition and the Origins of the Blues

Chapter:
(p.13) The Mississippi Blues Tradition and the Origins of the Blues
Source:
Charley Patton
Author(s):
Arnold Shaw
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496816139.003.0002

This chapter examines the Mississippi blues tradition and the origins of the blues through the lives and music of Charley Patton, Bukka White, Son House, and Robert Johnson. All are part, of course, of what is recognized as Mississippi Delta blues—a style fathered by Charley Patton. Although bluesmen have come from many southern states, the largest and most impressive group of blues singers came from Mississippi. In Delta blues, there was also the ultimate flowering of a personalized, localized style of expression. What has become evident from this brief glance at the work of four Delta bluesmen is that each has to one degree or another employed his songs as a chronicle of his experiences and each has emerged, however sketchily, as an identifiable individual. The chapter then demonstrates the power of Patton's poetic voice in “High Water Everywhere” as he sings of the flood's victims.

Keywords:   Mississippi blues tradition, blues, Charley Patton, Bukka White, Son House, Robert Johnson, Mississippi Delta blues, blues singers

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