Influential Oldies

It’s safe to say I was born into the wrong decade.

If I could pick a time to grow up in, it would be the 1920s-30s.  My favorite music comes from around then.

The king of blues, and pretty much music, was around in the twenties and thirties. Robert Johnson, or the greatest and most influential guitar player to date recorded most of his music in 1936. When you hear him play, you hear just how ahead of his time he was. This is either because of how good he was, or because everyone has copied his style. Even Cream capitalized on his success. If you ask any successful guitar player who influenced them, you can trace it all the way back to Robert Johnson, because he started it all.

My other favorite blues guitar player from around then was Robert Johnson’s old friend Son House. Son House…was Son House. He kind of just recorded what he wanted when he wanted. Screw rhythm, Son House is playing. “Grinnin’ in your Face” is basically just him clapping around the beat and singing off key and tempo. But, it’s still a top twenty five song…ever. Death Letter Blues combines is stomping, clapping and singing with some slide guitar. How bad could that be?

We’ve talked about the kings of early blues, but the undisputed king and father of country is Jimmie Rodgers. Despite his title, Rodgers is a mix of folk and heavy blues. And believe me, this guy knew all about the blues. Rodgers died when he was 35 of TB. But he didn’t let some stupid disease get in his way of making music. Rodgers recorded two songs two days before he died. He was so weak that in between the songs he had to lie down on his bed to get his strength back. Aside from that, his most famous song is Blue Yodel No. 9, which features song trumpet courtesy of none other than Satchmo.

I feel bad not mentioning the other greats like Leadbelly, Blind Willie McTell AND Johnson and Casey Bill Weldon, but hey, this is just a blog, not a biography. These people that I’ve been talking about have literally influenced EVERY great musician of the late 20th century, from the Stones to the White Stripes. In fact, some influence may be more obvious than others…

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