Welcome to Earlyblues.org – the History Section of Earlyblues.com

This website, ‘Earlyblues.org’ , has been created to replace the History Section of the original Earlyblues.com website and is dedicated to the history and evolution of the Blues as an on-line information resource including essays and articles, cultural aspects, exhibitions, presentations, courses, talks, research projects, reference lists, recommended blues books, blues resting places, and links to other blues sites. There is a separate detailed section of British Blues including a synopsis and links to the ‘EarlyBlues’ archives of 160+ British blues festival photographic galleries and reviews over the past 20 years. All to be found by browsing the above tabs.

All parts of the original History Section on Earlyblues.com are being re-created here in a new more manageable and presentable format together with additional and extended content, especially on the History of British Blues.

This website is the appointed custodian of the UKBlues Federation’s British Blues Archive material which is incorporated in the British Blues section. Full details are given on the Thanks page.

This website is also the appointed custodian of the ‘Mississippi’ Max Haymes collection of historical essays, articles and memorabilia.

“Today it’s no longer possible to hear the history of the blues from the mouths of many of those that shaped it. The survivors of the first decades are few; memories are dimmed by age and scared by experience. Time and pride have coloured some recollections, distrust and envy may have distorted others. Fingers are no longer nimble when old men are asked to play; blues that were sung in youth may have little meaning when the heat of the moment has been long forgotten. The problems of piecing together the story of the blues are many.”
– Paul Oliver, The Story of The Blues, Penguin, London 1969

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Quote from the late Paul Oliver (one of the world’s leading authorities and writer on the history of the blues):
“Alan, congratulations on your Website EarlyBlues, sincerely, Paul Oliver”
(Check out interview with Paul Oliver at his home in 2009)

“…The blues tell the story of life’s difficulties — and, if you think for a moment, you realize that they take the hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph. This is triumphant music.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.

“The Blues : It’s a world view, a way of life, an entire culture. This original American art form is defined by the Mississippi Blues Commission as “African American roots music and the culture that produced it”.  Most people think of the music when they think of Blues, but the cultural aspect is extremely important, and the music really can’t be appreciated or understood without it.  Blues isn’t just “twelve bar” music, it’s a world view, a way of life, an entire culture.  To understand the Blues, one must also know about the River, the Land, Juke Joints, Civil Rights, Jim Crow, and the Great Migration. The Blues (as a world view) is about paradoxical contradiction and the irresolvable conflict/co-dependence of opposites.  The Blues is about hope and despair, leaving and being left, wronging and being wronged, lynching and loving, tragedy and triumph, Saturday night and Sunday morning.  It’s a way of taking trouble and making a song out of it, and helping to explain why the righteous suffer in the process, all in a completely vernacular and secular manner.  The Blues makes a joyful noise out of lamentation and mourning.  It is a way of making poetic and rhythmic sense out of life, and it grows directly out of the life of the Mississippi Delta”.
– Luther Brown & John Heggen, Directors, The Delta Center for Culture & Learning, Delta State University, Cleveland, Mississippi

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Happy browsing  ….

Essays

In-depth essays covering all aspects of the blues

 

Articles

Articles, directories, image and photo galleries, memorabilia, and rarities covering all aspects of the blues and related topics

 

Culture

Blues in Art, Poetry, Film, TV, Theatre, etc.

         

Exhibitions

Exhibitions, photographic galleries, courses, presentations, documentaries and talks

 

British Blues

Concentrating specifically on all aspects of the history of British Blues

 

Research

Research projects and related Internet links, etc.

         

Reference

Books, magazines, radio, websites, internet links and other recommended reference material and sources.

 

Thanks

Thanks and recognition of the contributions and help received in creating and maintaining this website

 

Contact

Contact details for readers, researchers and contributors

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For regular readers here are some direct links to recent new / updated material …

Articles – Interviews

Joseph “Mojo” Morganfield – Youngest son of Muddy Waters – by Kirk Lang

Articles – Blues Related Locations – Tennessee

Memphis : Beale Street, Sun Studio, Peabody Hotel, Graceland, Festivals, Blues Foundation and The National Civil Rights Museum

Essays

Secularisation & The Evolution of 20th Century Popular Music  – by Redmond Smith

Got The Blues For Chattanooga  – by Max Haymes (updated/re-formatted essay)

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The very first blues record ever issued

“Crazy Blues” written by Perry Bradford. Mamie Smith and Her Jazz Hounds recorded it on August 10, 1920, which was released that year by OKeh Records. Within a month of release, it had sold 75,000 copies. Although there were many recordings made of songs with blues in the title during the previous decade, this recording is considered a landmark as the first blues record ever issued.

See further details in Library of Congress article by Ed Komara.

See also ‘Born With The Blues’ by Perry Bradford, Oak Publications (1965).
“The salty and uninhibited autobiography of one of the greatest of the old time jazz pioneers, including the true story of how he managed to get Mamie Smith the chance to record ‘Crazy Blues’ as the first colored girl to start making records for the phonograph companies”.

 

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Please note:
This website has been built to replace the original 20+ year old Earlyblues.com History Section and is entirely dedicated to the history and evolution of the Blues. It is being further developed over time, re-creating the old format content into a new more manageable and presentable format together with much extended content. To keep each section as complete as possible there are some links to the old format where the material has not yet been re-formatted. When this is the case please click the back button or just close the page to return to this website.

To go to the full Earlyblues.com website click here

To go to the original History Section of Earlyblues.com click here

For the record: this is an educational website and no content may be copied for commercial use (click here for the coyright notice).

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Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy browsing. If you would like to contribute to the website please email me at alan@earlyblues.com .

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If your interest is in the history of Gospel Music visit www.earlygospel.com . This is the sister website to ‘Earlyblues.com’ / ‘Earlyblues.org’, specialising in early gospel music and particularly lesser known singers and groups, from the spirituals and sacred songs in the 1870s through the evolution of gospel music to the end of WW II. The website provides an introduction to the history and evolution of gospel music. It includes the origins of gospel music, a chronology of key dates and significant events, influential churches in the American south, bibliographical summaries of preachers and their congregations / ‘jack-leg’ preachers and evangelists / gospel singers, essays and articles specialising in early gospel music, research projects, a discography including key recordings, a bibliography of key reference literature, and a list of Internet resources used for reference and further research.

Visit the new sister website www.earlyrnb.com, dedicated to the history of original early Rhythm & Blues music emanating from the blues and gospel music traditions from the early 40’s to the early 70’s incorporating its early derivatives Rock and Roll, Soul, Funk, Doo wop, British R&B, New Orleans R&B, Reggae and Ska.

Also visit the associated website www.undergroundrailroad.org.uk – providing an insight into the Underground Railroad movement during American slavery times.

The website documents the anti-slavery Underground Railroad movement including the origins of the underground railroad, a chronology of key dates and significant events, influential people, locations and associated events, themes, essays and articles specialising in the underground railroad, research projects, a bibliography of key reference literature, a discography including key recordings, and Internet website references.

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EarlyBlues.com / EarlyBlues.org / EarlyGospel.com / EarlyRnB.com / UndergroundRailroad.org.uk
websites created and managed by Alan White (UKBlues Federation Emeritus Board Member – Historian and Archivist)

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UKBlues Federation’s UK Blues Awards 2020

Blues Unsung Hero of the Year Award 2020 Winner

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#EuropeanBluesAwards
Lifetime Contribution Award 2014 Winner

“Very richly deserved in my opinion. Alan does sterling work for the blues and has done for many many years”.
– Paul Jones, Paul Jones Show, BBC Radio 2, broadcast on 8th December 2014,

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Here’s a couple of questions for you …


Question: On a Saturday night a local MIssissippi farmhand and sharecropper used to play guitar and sing here – who was he?

Another question: Where is this renowned Mississippi railroad depot location and what encounter with a blues musician took place there?

Write your answers on the back of a £10 note / $10 bill and donate it to your favourite charity.

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All photographs on this website, unless otherwise stated, are © Copyright Alan White. All Rights Reserved.