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

We are heartbroken to say that our beautiful Alan, creator of this website, passed away on 10th June 2023.   Despite being very ill for several months it was still too soon and we miss him so very much.   Our worlds are so much smaller without him but the immense love and joy that he brought us every single day will never be lost from our hearts.  

His love for blues music was a lifelong passion and he thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the time he spent with his many friends at the festivals and gigs over so many years.  He left us as he’d lived, with peace, dignity and that quiet smile.

Christine, Sarah, Katie & Terry

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 20 year old History Section of 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. Details of the UKBlues Federation and British Blues Archive are given on the Acknowledgments 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

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


Happy browsing  ….


In-depth essays covering all aspects of the blues



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



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



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


British Blues

Concentrating specifically on all aspects of the history of British Blues



Research projects and related Internet links, etc.



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



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



Contact details for readers, researchers and contributors


Latest addition …

Announcing the development of The Robert Johnson Blues Park
as a permanent tribute to the legendary bluesman.

Click here for further details

or go to the Articles / Blues Memorial Parks Section

Image © Copyright 2021 Earl Klael – used with permission


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

Articles – Blues Related Locations – Tennessee

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


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

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

In Memoriam – British Blues

Peter Green – a tribute by Richard and Mike Vernon


Whilst many blues festivals are still cancelled take a stroll down memory lane …

In the UK …

Photo Galleries and Reviews of UK blues festivals over the past 20 + years.

In the US and Europe …

Photo Galleries and Reviews of US and European blues festivals over recent years.




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”.



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).


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 .


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 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.


EarlyBlues.com / EarlyBlues.org / EarlyGospel.com / EarlyRnB.com / UndergroundRailroad.org.uk websites
created and managed by Alan White (Blues Historian and Archivist)



UKBlues Federation’s UK Blues Awards 2020

Blues Unsung Hero of the Year Award 2020 Winner


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,


Here’s a little quiz for you …

Question: On a Saturday night a local MIssissippi farmhand, sharecropper and now famous bluesman 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?

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


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