The dominant gene in the DNA of rock ’n’ roll comes from the blues, which is just one reason why many believe it’s the most important musical genre of the last 100 years. Everyone from Chuck Berry to The Beatles to Led Zeppelin has used the basic 12-bar blues chord progression as the underlying structure for their music. Indeed, it’s difficult to imagine much of contemporary music without it.
Cognizant of this fact, the Rock and Roll Museum inducted blues legend Robert Johnson into its Hall of Fame in 1986, the institution’s very first year. The following year it added Johnson acolyte Muddy Waters to its ranks, along with bluesmen B.B. King and Big Joe Turner. In subsequent years, blues artists such as Lead Belly, Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed, and Willie Dixon, among others, have been inducted into the hallowed hall.
For vinyl record collectors, blues records are particularly appealing because the style spans so many years and formats. For example, collectors of antique 10-inch 78 RPM discs on Okeh and other labels look for Bessie Smith tunes such as “Safety Mama” or “Blind” Lemon Jefferson songs like “How Long, How Long.” In the 1920s, Jefferson’s music was so popular that some of his records enjoyed as many as 750,000 pressings.
The Depression knocked some of the stuffing out of the blues market, and World War II forced many labels to cease operations altogether as raw materials were husbanded for the war effort. But a parallel upheaval was happening in the blues, as artists moved from the Mississippi Delta region in the south to urban areas up north.
In Chicago, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and John Lee Hooker all made their mark, trading their acoustic Martin guitars for electric ones made by Gibson and others (B.B. King’s black ES-335, which he named Lucille, remains one of the most identifiable instruments in music).
One of Chicago’s leading blues artists was Willie Dixon. He performed extensively in the postwar era, but he also wrote a lot of tunes recorded as 45s on Chess Records, by performers from locals Waters and Wolf to England’s Rolling Stones—their 45 single of Willie Dixon’s “Little Red Rooster” was recorded in Chicago for Chess in 1965.
In fact, in the 1960s, rock bands would regularly weave blues numbers by Dixon, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and Bo Diddley into their repertoires. First pressings of “East-West” by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band are prized, as are mint mono LPs of the 1966 “Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton” album—the leader of that band, John Mayall, was one of the greatest champions of the U.S. blues in England...
Then there were the Yardbirds, a blues-inspired pop outfit that launched the careers of not only Clapton (good luck finding a seven-inch single of their 1965 hit, “For Your Love”) but also Jeff Beck (the U.K. release of “Roger the Engineer” is much sought after) and Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page (look for “Little Games”).
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors
The Remington Site
Clubs & Associations
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Blues Records
Source: Google News
Fred Seibert: Ignore Anyone Who Calls Your Idea CrazyCMSWire, January 26th
I made jazz and blues records because I wanted to work with The Beatles, but they'd broken up by the time I started the business. Jazz was new and thrilling to me, and the chance to work with world-class musicians who'd forgotten more than I'd ever...Read more
On Stage: Dukes of Destiny come home to The FlashThe Times of Chester County, January 22nd
“I started listening to blues records a lot — players like Muddy Waters and James Cotton. I was really into Chicago blues of the 1950s and 1960s when I started. Then, I got into guys like Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. One of the first bands I played...Read more
The Wood Brothers Played The Fillmore: Here Are 8 Things You Need to KnowLive Music Blog (blog), January 20th
The first thing to catch one's eye upon entering The Fillmore was that the stage was decorated like the front of a barn with wood slats, a few dusty old blues records, a lamp, and strings of lights. This down-homey scenery fostered an immediate...Read more
Q&A with Peter Wolf of The J. Geils Band (SLIDESHOW)Atlanta Business Chronicle, January 20th
They had all of these great blues records. They even had a sidewalk where artist would put their fingerprints in. That was down in Atlanta. Atlanta was still the old Atlanta. We always enjoyed coming in. We haven't been back there in decades, so we are ...Read more
SOOTO Records staging comebackShreveport Times, January 14th
Tickets: $4 limited advance through today, $10 Friday through showtime; purchase online (Ticketweb.com), at Bear's on Fairfield, 1401 Fairfield Avenue, Shreveport, (318) 272-1643, or at Day Old Blues Records, 437 Kings Highway, Shreveport, (318) ...Read more
Blues harmonica to take center stage at Harrah's Lake TahoeTahoe Daily Tribune, December 31st
Atlantic, Chess, Sun, RPM, King and other independents would rule the 1950s blues world while Bluebird/Victor blues records would fold by 1948.” The event is led by Hummel, a 2014 Grammy Award nominee who has been organizing harmonic blowouts for ...Read more
For sale: The Beatles, jazz and blues records from shamed Rafael Hui's ...South China Morning Post (subscription), December 19th
He freely indulged in his fetish for classical music, resulting in the collection of 10,955 discs - mainly vinyl LPs - that includes 6,323 classical music albums, 965 titles on operas and ballet, 1,330 jazz and blues records and 835 rock and pop discs...Read more
Jack White Speaks at Yale About (What Else?) 1920s Blues RecordsBillboard, October 29th
Yale University welcomed rock-legend-in-the-making Jack White to their campus on Tuesday night. And what happens when you invite Jack White to anything? He's going to start talking about blues records from the 1920s, whether it's applicable or not...Read more