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A Brief History of the Blues

By Published: August 16, 2005
  • The Texas blues, Memphis blues, and St. Louis blues consist of a wide variety of subgenres. Louisiana blues is characterized by a swampy guitar or harmonica sound with lots of echo, while Kansas City blues is jazz oriented - think Count Basie. There is also the British blues, a rock-blues hybrid pioneered by John Mayall, Peter Green and Eric Clapton. New Orleans blues is largely piano-based, with the exception of some talented guitarists such as Guitar Slim and Snooks Eaglin. And most people are familiar with blues rock.

    At All About Jazz, we don't plan to delimit the blues too narrowly. Our reviews will touch on rootsy R&B and zydeco, as well as the more traditional blues styles.

    For a more complete overview of the blues, check out the following books:

    • Blues For Dummies by Lonnie Brooks, Cub Koda and Wayne Baker Brooks
    • Deep Blues by Robert Palmer
    • All Music Guide to the Blues
    • White Boy Singin' the Blues: The Black Roots of White Rock by Michael Bane

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