Blues Starter Kit
JUMP BLUES GIANTS
- Louis Jordan (The Best of Louis Jordan, MCA, 1977; Period - 1940s & '50s) - The father of the jump blues, Louis Jordan was a huge talent equally adept at raucous party music, hilarious novelty tunes, straight-ahead blues, and swingin' syncopated jazz. Along with Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole, Jordan was one of the first black musicians to make it big in the snow-white world of '40s pop. (Signature song: "Caldonia")
- Big Joe Turner - See entry under Kopp's Tops
- Wynonie Harris (Bloodshot Eyes: The Best of Wynonie Harris, Rhino, 1994; Period - 1940s & '50s) - A raucous R&B pioneer with a powerful voice and a great sense of humor, Harris spawned some of the most sexually charged music of the '40s and '50s. (Signature song: "Good Rockin' Tonight")
- Roomful of Blues - (Turn It On! Turn It Up!, Bullseye Blues, 1995; Year - 1995) A nine-piece jump blues outfit from Rhode Island that's the finest and longest lasting contemporary jump band.
COOL BLUES CATS
- Charles Brown (Driftin' Blues: The Best of, Collectables, 1995; Period - 1940s & '50s) - Brown's after-hours blues is sublimely smooth and silky. (Signature song: "Merry Christmas, Baby")
- Johnny Adams (Johnny Adams Sings Doc Pomus: The Real Me, 1992; Year - 1992) - Another terrifically smooth vocalist who, had he not been barred from joining the Motown label by Ric Records, might have become as famous as Smokey Robinson or Diana Ross. (Signature song: "Reconsider Me").
- Percy Mayfield (Poet of the Blues, Specialty, 1990; Period - 1950 to '54) - One of the most sophisticated and personal of blues songwriters, Mayfield's music is predominantly slow, soulful and sad. Mayfield was known as the "Poet Laureate of the Blues." (Signature song: "Please Send Me Someone to Love")
MODERN COUNTRY BLUES
- Mississippi Fred McDowell (You Gotta Move, Arhoolie, 1993; Period - 1960s) - Perhaps the most talented master of the acoustic bottleneck guitar the world has yet seen, Fred McDowell became a folk sensation in the '60s, and deservedly so. (Signature song: "You Gotta Move")
- Lightnin' Slim (Rooster Blues, Excello, 1987, Year - 1960) Slim pioneered the lowdown country blues from the swamps of Louisiana. (Signature song: "Rooster Blues")
- Ry Cooder (Paradise and Lunch, Reprise, 1974; Year - 1974) - A wonderfully earthy acoustic and electric guitarist who now devotes most of his energy to movie soundtracks. (Signature song: "It's All Over Now")
- Taj Mahal - See entry under Kopp's Tops.
- Corey Harris (Fish Ain't Bitin', Alligator, 1997; Year - 1997) - Impressive young guitarist and singer who plays the Delta blues combined with African-influenced roots music, reggae and more. Slide player extraordinaire. (Signature song: "Fish Ain't Bitin'")
- Alvin Youngblood Hart (Big Mama's Door, Okeh/550 Music, 1996; Year - 1996) - Another fine young singer/guitarist whose debut album breathed new life into the Delta blues. (Signature song: "Big Mama's Door")
White Boy Singin' the Blues: The Black Roots of White Rock by Michael Bane