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”).

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas pays homage to international female opera singers of the LP era. Chronicling more than 800 singers, the… [read review or visit site]



Despite its mysterious title, 317X is plain and simple—an online gallery of vintage LPs, with a 1950s vintage fee… [read review or visit site]

Jesse Barron's collection of Beatles 45s, picture sleeves, magazines, books, and memorabilia. Browse singles and al… [read review or visit site]

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

This great site, from the Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors, offers detailed background information an… [read review or visit site]

The Remington Site

The Remington Site

Since 1999, the Remington Site has offered classical music collectors a glimpse into Remington Records, an independ… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Robert Belfour What's Wrong W You Lp Fat Possum Blues Sealed Oop 90sBlues 78- Robert Johnson Vocalion Hell Hound On My Trai E/ee+ Copy! Great!!78 Rpm Blind Lemon Jefferson's Birthday Record, Paramount 12650, Vv+ / V Blues78 Rpm Henry Spaulding, Brunswick 7085, E-v+ BluesM- Orig 1971 Window The Doors - La Woman Psych Blues Jim Morrison Mojo's RisingMuddy Waters "the Best Of..." Blues Lp Chess 1427 Mono DgRare ! Black Crowes Lions Orig V2 2 X Lp Gatefold Cover Oop Classic Rock BluesPre-war Blues 78 Blind Willie Johnson His Blood Can Make Me Whole Columbia 14276R&b/deep Soul Blues 45 Don Hollinger Where The Young Folks Go Jato Hear ☛hear! Blues 78 Rpm Little Junior's Blue Flames Feelin' Good Sun 187Howlin' Wolf Rocking Chair Chess - Black Label Mono Lp 1469 - Listen!Cow Cow Davenport On Excellent 1927 Paramount 12439 - Jim Crow BluesBlues - Roosevelt Sykes On Excellent E+ 1929 Okeh 8702 - "44" BluesPre-war Blues 78 Blind Lemon Jefferson That Black Snake Moan Paramount 12407 78 Rufus Thomas Blues Sun 181 V++78 Rpm Columbia 14276 Blind Willie Johnson Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed Blind Blake On 1927 Paramount 12464 - Buck-town Blues / Black Dog Blues78 Rpm Barbecue Bob, Columbia 14222, V Blues78 Rpm Roosevelt Sykes (as Easy Papa Johnson), Vocalion 02669, E / V BluesRare Country Ep - Johnny Cash - Home Of The Blues - Sun # Ep-11678 Rpm Columbia 14246 Barbecue Bob Poor Boy A Long Ways From Home BluesLou Donaldson "blues Walk" Jazz Lp Blue Note 1593 63rd St. Nyc Mono DgMfsl 1-201 Muddy Waters Folk Singer Mobile Fidelity Lp Test Pressing NmLot Of 500+ Soul, Funk, Jazz, Blues, R&b 45s. Great For Jukebox! (39)Dusko Gojkovich Belgrade Blues On Rtb 4201 Yugoslavian Original Dg Mint-Groundhogs Blues Obituary Lp Liberty 83253 1969Mint! 1970 Orig The Doors ~ Morrison Hotel ~ Driving Morrison Snakey Blues KingR&b Soul 45 Junior Wells Stomach Ache Vanguard Nm/vg++ Hear Booker Ervin "the Blues Book" Jazz Lp Prestige 7340 Mono Blues 78 Rpm Sammy Lewis Willie Johnsom Combo Sun 218 Vg++ Condition☛hear! R&b Rocker/blues 78 Rpm Billy (the Kid) Emerson Move Baby Sun 2141968 Orig ~ Peter Green Fleetwood Mac 1st Lp ~ Uk Electrified Blues Boom Jammer78 Rpm Paramount 12767 Blind Blake Ramblin’ Mama Blues New Style Of LovingElvis Record "gi Blues" 33 Rpm AlbumScrapper Blackwell On Rare 1928 Vocalion 1192 - Kokomo Blues / Penal Farm BluesMuddy Waters Sings Big Bill Broonzy Chess - Black Label Mono Lp 1444 - Listen!Albert King "born Under A Bad Sign" Stax 723 Aa Original Deep Groove Mono Nm!!!John Mayall - Blues Breakers - Mfsl Mofi Audiophile Vinyl - Mint SealedNina Simone Rca Stereo 3789 Sings The Blues M- Vinyl78 Rpm Okeh Record 45114 Frank Hutchison Worried Blues That Train That CarriedSidney Maiden-trouble An' Blues,prestige Bluesville,mono,blue Label,1961 Orig!New Orleans Luck Seven 78 Rpm Record Okeh 8544 Royal Garden Blues, Goose PimplesVarious Artists - We Sing The Blues Ep Liberty Label 1960 MonoRobert Johnson Lp.king Of The Delta Blues Singers Uk Orange Cbs 1st PressJohn Dummer Band St Mercury 1969 Rare Uk Original Blues Psych Prog Rock Blind Lemon Jefferson 78 Rpm Record. Black Horse Blues. Paramount 12367 10"Howlin' Wolf - Little Baby 1961 Uk 45 Pye International Ex+Rare 1968 ~ Fleetwood Mac ~ English Rose ~ Uk Blues Boom! Hard Peter Green Gem!John Lee Hooker - "on The Waterfront", Wand, Strong Vg+Scrapper Blackwell On Rare 1928 Vocalion 1213 - Trouble Blues, Parts 1 And 210 Blues Lp Lot W John Lee Hooker, Lightnin' Hopkins, Sonny Boy Williamson Christine Perfect St Blue Horizon 1970 Rare Uk Blues Fleetwood MacJohn Dummer Blues Band ~ "cabal" (mercury) Uk 1969 Rare Original!Southern Comfort St London 1969 Rare Blues Walter Horton Martin Stone Jessie LewLed Zeppelin "100% British Blues" + "the Good Life" 2 Colored Vinyl 100 CopieM- Clean 1966 Orig ~ The Yardbirds - Under Over ~ Jeff Beck Garage Blues Psych Lot Of 500+ Soul, Funk, Jazz, Blues, R&b 45s. Great For Jukebox! (40)John Dummer's Famous Music Band Fontana 1970 Rare Uk Original Blues Psych Prog R78 Rpm Mary Dixon, Columbia 14582, E- Jazz / BluesOrig 1841 Broadway 1969 Led Zeppelin Ii ~ Hard Heavy Blues Psych Page Yardbirds

Recent News: Blues Records

Source: Google News

WMPG Scrambles to Save Thousands of Rare Vinyl Records Damaged When ...
Maine Public Broadcasting, April 24th

PORTLAND, Maine - Volunteers at a southern Maine community radio station are hard at work trying to save thousands of vinyl records. About 3,000 LPs - many of them rare blues and reggae releases - were damaged when a water pipe burst at WMPG, ...Read more

WMPG hopes to save 'irreplaceable' vinyl records soaked when water pipe bursts
Press Herald, April 23rd

Zach Lapierre, right, a freshman at the University of Southern Maine and a work-study student at WMPG, and Jessica Lockhart, a WMPG volunteer who teaches radio production, help to stack record albums in newspaper after a broken water pipe caused a ...Read more

Music preview: Fans pay tribute to local music legend Bob Mack at dance party ...
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 22nd

"You'd have to go through maybe a hundred or a thousand, but you'd find incredible rhythm 'n' blues records that were never played, never made the charts and were better than anything on the jukeboxes and radio of the day," Mack said. He was inspired...Read more

ZZ Top buzzing into Santa Rosa
Santa Rosa Press Democrat, April 22nd

A: There's great guitar playing to be heard on so many of the astounding array of early blues records. They go straight to the marrow. The giant catalog assembled by Chris Strachwitz, with his Arhoolie Records, remains a gold mine of go-to, how-to stuff...Read more

Record Store Day keeps vinyl spinning in Shreveport
Shreveport Times, April 15th

Vinyl isn't dead. The love for the scratch of the needle against the black, textured surface of a vinyl record is still literally music to the ears of many. “It's got more heart in it,” said James Gilcrease, owner of Day Old Blues Records. “I think you...Read more

"Journey Within" Bobo Jenkins' small Detroit blues label Big Star
Detroit Metro Times (blog), April 6th

Have you ever heard this extraordinary song, "Journey Within" by Fred Scott? It's a left-field, synthed-up blues release from the 1970s that sounds far closer to spiritual jazz of the time than most small label blues records. I hadn't heard it until...Read more

Soundcheck: Generations apart, two musicians are bound by the blues
Concord Monitor, April 1st

A couple of years back, the quiet kid had been dipping into a bunch of old blues records left around the house by someone – Mom, Dad, Gramps or a wayward uncle, who knows? But those records spoke like gospel to Delanie – the words, how they were ...Read more

Bachman launches "Heavy Blues" tour in Milwaukee, March 28th

"Heavy Blues" was produced by uber-producer Kevin Shirley, who has worked with rockers such as AC/DC, Rush and Iron Maiden but also recently struck gold with a pair of fantastic blues records with Joe Bonamassa and Beth Hart. "Kevin Shirley owed me a ...Read more