Collection: Essential Blues Albums

The Blues developed out of African American spirituals and worksongs in the context of the end of slavery, but most definitely not the end of racism, injustice, and poverty in the deep south of the United States. These songs were a part of an oral tradition which mixed with American country and folk music in the late 1800's. By the 1960's it had developed and splintered into many regional styles and variations like the Country Blues of Blind Blake, Delta Blues of Robert Johnson, Urban vocals of Bessie Smith, Memphis sound of Frank Stokes, Louisiana style of Professor Longhair, Chicago sound of Howlin' Wolf, Jump Blues of Louis Jordan, as well as the West Coast and British Blues that inspired countless rock musicians since. As electric guitars became more prevalent in the 1950's there was a major distinction between the traditional acoustic style and the new electrified sound popularized by T-Bone Walker, Muddy Waters, and John Lee Hooker. However, in general the basic structure of blues has remained the same since its beginnings, mostly defined by a 3 chord progression (I,IV,V), improvisation, and call-and-response. The Blues form paved the way for Rock 'n' Roll, Soul, and arguably all forms of popular western music since, not to mention the influence it had on Jazz which developed alongside in the 20th century. This is a small collection of essential Blues artists from the earliest recordings of Country Blues to contemporary variations. - Scott Boutin