Bringing New Life to the Blues

Early blues songs recorded by musicians such as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Leroy Carr, as well as Charlie Patton achieved broad popularity in African-American communities of the southerly USA in the 1920’s as well as 1930’s. Nevertheless, recordings of this very early music are scarce and also by the early 1950’s the music had almost faded from prominent memory up until revival initiatives of collectors such as Alan Lomax, Frederic Ramsey, Jr., and Samuel Charters brought blues into the worldwide spotlight in the late 1950’s and 1960’s. These ardent collectors sought out country blues musicians as well as introduced them to show promoters and record firms, revitalizing their recording professions. Folkways Records additionally played a major function in the blues revival through some considerable recording reissue jobs: Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music™, Jr.’s Jazz, Samuel Charters’ Country Blues, and also Frederic Ramsey. These reissues made recordings from the 1920’s and 1930’s available to vast audiences in the 1950’s as well as 1960’s, drawing blues songs right into the understanding of American viewers from all ethnic as well as socioeconomic histories.

a2e4e706a740f770040f5f7b1576372cTo the Festival Stage

The folk and blues revival enabled country blues musicians such as John Jackson, Sam Chatmon, Furry Lewis, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, Lightnin’ Hopkins and also others to ascend blues festival phases to large praise throughout the United States and also globally. The Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall organized many country blues musicians throughout the 1960’s as well as 1970’s, approving them acknowledgment as a component of a national musical heritage. Country blues artists aim to keep their conventional designs of playing in these festival contexts also while substantial adjustments to blues were creating in local pockets throughout the USA.  The artists would keep their music with a small town feel throughout these years.  You would never see the artists show up to a festival in a limousine like you would in other styles of music.  They wanted to continue relating to those they performed for.

The country blues shares the shared experiences of black individuals in the American South, making it a powerful automobile for African American expression as well as cultural reinforcement. It is a distinct musical type that advanced in the early 10 years of the twentieth century in tiny dance halls as well as on the back steps of residences in the Mississippi delta, and these timeless recordings on Smithsonian Folkways and in the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and also Collections maintain the country blues to life for audiences almost everywhere.