This week Johnny chose “All Guitar” as our theme. As a kid, I’ve always enjoyed my uncle and dad freestylin’ the blues on their acoustics. Something about those soothing string vibrations resonating throughout my body, it transported me to another era, time and place. It’s during that time in my childhood, I’ve come to realize the power of music can liberate my mind, and soul. *\o/*
I’ll start off with the legendary Charlie Patton, whose music helped define the Delta Blues. Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker and Robert Johnson were just a few that he inspired. Decades before rock ‘n’ roll, Patton would regularly play the guitar behind his head or back during raucous live performances.
Rattlesnake Blues – Charlie Patton
Junior Kimbrough – Lord, Have Mercy On Me
Jazz, Rock, Blues… this master can do it all:
Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown – I’ve Got My Mojo Working
Son House is one of the true originators, a man whose music sounds older than time, resonating with an intensity rarely matched in the popular music canon.
An influence on Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson, Son House was rediscovered in the 1960s after nearly two decades of retirement, and it’s the recordings from this period that represent the most satisfying listening experience for any student of the blues, whether a cappella, or with that ancient voice underpinned by House’s signature slide playing. The greatest Delta bluesman of them all?
Son House “Death Letter Blues”
Kansas Joe McCoy & Memphis Minnie – When the Levee Breaks
All hail the Grandma of Rock n’ Roll ♥
Didn’t it Rain/ Almost Lost my Mind – Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Mississippi Delta Blues – Muddy Waters
Dead by poisoning in 1938 aged 27, the shadowy figure claimed to have sold his soul to the devil at a Mississippi crossroads in exchange for otherworldly musical abilities will forever live on through the handful of recordings he made and his staggering influence on Western popular music.
Although Johnson is occasionally dismissed as unremarkable alongside Delta blues contemporaries Charley Patton and Son House, and there has even been speculation regarding whether the King Of The Delta Blues Singers albums are even at the right pitch and speed, his impact on bluesmen and rock ‘n’ rollers that followed on both sides of the Atlantic is impossibe to deny.
Robert Johnson – Crossroad
Willie Dixon – Back door man
According to the guitarist, the time spent at Bron-Yr-Aur in 1970
…was the first time I really came to know Robert [Plant]. Actually living together at Bron-Yr-Aur, as opposed to occupying nearby hotel rooms. The songs took us into areas that changed the band, and it established a standard of travelling for inspiration… which is the best thing a musician can do.
Led Zepp – 1970 Bron-Yr-Aur
Bron-Y-Aur Stomp – Led Zeppelin (cover)