List of Delta Blues Musicians
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List of Delta Blues Musicians
The Delta blues is one of the earliest styles of blues music. It originated in the Mississippi Delta, a region of the United States that stretches from north to south between Memphis, Tennessee, and Vicksburg, Mississippi, and from east to west between the Yazoo River and the Mississippi River. The Mississippi Delta is historically famous for its fertile soil and the poverty of farm workers living there. Guitar and harmonica are the dominant instruments in Delta blues. Vocal styles range from introspective and soulful to passionate and fiery. Below is a list of Delta blues musicians.
- Woodrow Adams (April 9, 1917 - August 9, 1988). Singer, guitarist and harmonica player who recorded three singles.
- Cecil Augusta (born 1920). Singer and guitarist who recorded one song for Alan Lomax in 1959.
- Kid Bailey. Recorded one known session, in 1929.
- Tommy Bankhead (October 24, 1931, Lake Cormorant, Mississippi - December 16, 2000). Guitarist and singer who backed other musicians, including Howlin' Wolf and Sonny Boy Williamson I, and released a few albums under his own name.
- John Henry Barbee (November 14, 1905, Henning, Tennessee - November 3, 1964). Guitarist and singer, an exponent of early country blues and Delta blues, who early in his career performed with Sunnyland Slim.
- Robert Belfour (born September 11, 1940, Red Banks, Mississippi - February 24, 2015). Country blues and Delta blues guitarist and singer, collaborator with Mose Vinson; started recording late in his career, beginning in the 1990s.
- Charley Booker (September 3, 1925, Sunflower County, Mississippi - September 20, 1989). Singer and guitarist, mostly active around Leland and Greenville, Mississippi, in the 1940s and early 1950s.
- Ishmon Bracey (January 9, 1901, Byram, Mississippi - February 12, 1970). Early country blues and Delta blues guitarist and vocalist.
- Willie Brown (1900-1952). Guitarist, singer and songwriter.
- R. L. Burnside (November 23, 1926, Oxford, Mississippi - September 1, 2005). Acoustic and electric North Mississippi hill country blues, Delta blues, and juke joint blues guitarist and singer.
- Sam Carr (April 17, 1926, Marvell, Arkansas - September 21, 2009). Drummer best known as a member of the Jelly Roll Kings.
- Bo Carter (March 21, 1893, Bolton, Mississippi - September 21, 1964). Country blues singer and multi-instrumentalist who performed mostly early Delta blues, playing guitar, banjo, string bass and clarinet, one of the first dirty blues musicians, with songs like "Banana in Your Fruit Basket";.
- James Cotton (born July 1, 1935, Tunica, Mississippi- March 16, 2017). Harmonica blues player and singer who began as a Delta blues musician and later moved to Chicago and began playing Chicago blues in acoustic and electric settings.
- Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup (August 24, 1905, Forest, Mississippi - March 28, 1974). Guitarist and singer who began as a Delta blues musician and later moved to Chicago, where he played Delta blues and Chicago blues in acoustic and electric settings.
- David Honeyboy Edwards (June 28, 1915, Shaw, Mississippi - August 29, 2011). Grammy Award-winning guitarist and singer; at the time of his death he may have been the last living Delta blues player of the twentieth century.
- Boyd Gilmore (June 1, 1905 – December 23, 1976) was a Delta blues singer, guitarist and songwriter. Amongst the songs he wrote were "All in My Dreams", "Believe I'll Settle Down", "I Love My Little Woman" and "If That's Your Girl". Gilmore also recorded a version of fellow Delta bluesman Robert Johnson's track, "Ramblin' on My Mind".
- Jessie Mae Hemphill (October 18, 1923 - July 22, 2006). Electric guitarist, singer and songwriter specializing in north Mississippi hill country blues.
- John Lee Hooker (August 22, 1912, Clarksdale, Mississippi - June 21, 2001). Acoustic and electric guitarist and singer, one of the best-known exponents of Delta blues, who also played Detroit blues.
- Son House (March 21, 1902, Lyon, Mississippi - October 19, 1988). Singer and guitarist.
- Howlin' Wolf (June 10, 1910 - January 10, 1976). Chicago blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player.
- Elmore James (January 27, 1918, Richland, Mississippi - May 24, 1963). Slide guitarist, playing acoustic and electric guitars, and singer, who performed Delta blues and Chicago blues and is best known for the latter; his technique influenced a generation of guitarists that followed.
- Skip James (June 9, 1902, Bentonia, Mississippi - October 3, 1969). Singer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter.
- Big Jack Johnson (July 30, 1940, Lambert, Mississippi - March 14, 2011). Electric blues musician, one of a very small number of blues musicians to play the mandolin.
- Louise Johnson. Singer and pianist.
- Robert Johnson (May 8, 1911, Hazlehurst, Mississippi - August 16, 1938). Singer-songwriter and guitarist, recognized since the 1960s as a master of Delta blues and an important influence on many rock musicians.
- Tommy Johnson (1896, near Terry, Mississippi - November 1, 1956). Guitarist, singer and songwriter.
- Junior Kimbrough (July 28, 1930, Hudsonville, Mississippi - January 17, 1998). Acoustic and electric guitarist and singer of North Mississippi hill country blues, Delta blues and juke joint blues
- Little Freddie King (July 19, 1940, McComb, Mississippi). Guitarist.
- King Solomon Hill (1897, McComb, Mississippi - 1949, Sibley, Louisiana). Singer and guitarist who recorded a handful of songs in 1932.
- Lead Belly (January 20 1888, Mooringsport, Louisiana - December 6 1949). Guitarist who was influential to the folk scene as well as the blues.
- Robert Lockwood, Jr. (March 27, 1915, Turkey Scratch, Arkansas - November 21, 2006). Guitarist who learned to play directly from Robert Johnson and is known for his longtime collaboration with Sonny Boy Williamson II and his work in the mid-1950s with Little Walter.
- Willie Lofton (1905-1962). Singer and guitarist.
- Willie Love (November 4, 1906, Duncan, Mississippi - August 19, 1953). Pianist.
- Tommy McClennan (January 4, 1905 - May 9, 1961). Singer and guitarist.
- Hayes McMullan (January 29, 1902 – May 1986). Singer, guitarist and songwriter. He also was variously employed as a sharecropper, deacon and was a civil rights activist.
- Papa Charlie McCoy (May 26, 1909 - July 26, 1950). Guitarist, mandolinist, and singer, one of the major blues accompanists of his time.
- Mississippi Fred McDowell (January 12, 1904 - July 3, 1972). Hill country blues singer and guitar player.
- Mississippi John Hurt (March 8, 1892 or 1893, Teoc, Mississippi - November 2, 1966, Grenada, Mississippi). Known for his syncopated fingerpicking style. Recorded by the Library of Congress late in his life.
- Muddy Waters (April 4, 1913, Rolling Fork, Mississippi - April 30, 1983). Slide guitarist and singer who began his career playing Delta blues but is best known as a Chicago blues musician, one of the more recognizable names in blues.
- Sonny Boy Nelson (December 23, 1908 - November 4, 1998). Multi-instrumentalist, playing the banjo, guitar, harmonica, horn, mandolin and violin.
- Jack Owens (November 17, 1904 - February 9, 1997). Singer and guitarist.
- Charley Patton (between April 1887 and 1891 - April 28, 1934). Guitarist, slide guitarist and singer, considered by many to be the "father of the Delta blues" is credited with creating an enduring body of American music and personally inspiring just about every Delta bluesman.
- Pinetop Perkins (July 7, 1913, Belzoni, Mississippi - March 21, 2011). Pianist who played with some of the most influential blues and rock and roll performers in American history
- Robert Petway (possibly October 18, 1907 - May 1978). Singer and guitarist who recorded only 16 songs was an influence on many notable blues and rock musicians.
- Sonny Rhodes (born November 3, 1940). Singer and lap steel guitar player.
- Andy Rodgers (March 14, 1922 - August 14, 2004) was a harmonicist, guitarist, singer and songwriter. A flamboyant character, known commonly as the "Midnight Cowboy", Rodgers worked part-time as a musician for most of his lifetime, finally recording two albums in the 1990s.
- Doctor Ross (October 21, 1925, Tunica, Mississippi - May 28, 1993). Harmonica player, guitarist and singer of country blues, Delta blues, Detroit blues and juke joint blues
- Johnny Shines (April 26, 1915 - April 20, 1992). Singer and guitarist.
- J.D. Short (February 26, 1902 - October 21, 1962). Singer, guitarist and harmonica player.
- Henry "Son" Sims (August 22, 1890 - December 23, 1958). Fiddler and songwriter, best known as an accompanist for Charley Patton and the young Muddy Waters.
- Freddie Spruell (December 28, 1893 - June 19, 1956). Singer and guitarist, generally regarded as the first Delta bluesman to be recorded.
- Houston Stackhouse (September 28, 1910 - September 23, 1980). Guitarist and singer best known for his association with Robert Nighthawk.
- L. C. Ulmer (August 28, 1928 - February 14, 2016). Singer, songwriter and one-man band, playing up to 12 musical instruments at one time.
- Bukka White (November 12, 1909 - February 26, 1977). Guitarist and singer.
- Geeshie Wiley (dates of birth and death unknown). Singer and guitarist who recorded six songs in 1930 and 1931.
- Big Joe Williams (October 16, 1903 - December 17, 1982). Guitarist, singer and songwriter, notable for the distinctive sound of his nine-string guitar.
- Sonny Boy Williamson II (c. December 5, 1912 - May 24, 1965). Early and influential harmonica stylist who recorded in the 1950s and 1960s.
- Elder Roma Wilson (December 22, 1910 - October 25, 2018). Gospel harmonica player and singer.
- Johnny Woods (November 1, 1917 - February 1, 1990). Singer and harmonica player in the north Mississippi hill country blues style.
Timeline of some well-known Delta blues artists