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. 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 extended content, especially on the history of British Blues welcoming new contributors Stevie King from the British Blues Archive website and Keith Woods from ‘Tales From The Woods’ magazine and roots music networking group. Earlyblues.org is also now the custodian of the UKBlues Federation‘s ‘History of British Blues’ archive material.

Details of these organisations are given on the Acknowledgements page.

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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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Please note:
This website is being 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 developed over time, re-creating the old format content into a new more manageable and presentable format together with extended content. To keep each section as complete as possible there will be 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 new format website.

To go to the full Earlyblues.com website click here

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

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“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.

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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 .


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

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