World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Memphis blues

Article Id: WHEBN0000171833
Reproduction Date:

Title: Memphis blues  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Blues, Country blues, Walter Vinson, Joe Willie Wilkins, Will Shade
Collection: Blues Music Genres, Culture of Memphis, Tennessee, Memphis Blues
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Memphis blues

The Memphis blues is a style of blues music that was created in the 1910s – 1930s by Memphis-area musicians like Frank Stokes, Sleepy John Estes, Furry Lewis and Memphis Minnie. The style was popular in vaudeville and medicine shows, and was associated with Memphis' main entertainment area, Beale Street. W.C. Handy, the "Father of the Blues" published The Memphis Blues. In lyrics, the phrase is often used to describe a depressed mood.[1]


  • History 1
    • Electric blues 1.1
  • Memphis blues musicians 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


"The Memphis Blues" (1914), composed by W. C. Handy in 1912 and recorded by Victor Military Band in 1914. First known commercial recording of Handy's first commercially successful blues composition.

Problems playing this file? See .

In addition to guitar-based blues, jug bands, such as Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers and the Memphis Jug Band, were extremely popular practitioners of Memphis blues. The jug band style emphasized the danceable, syncopated rhythms of early jazz and a range of other archaic folk styles. It was played on simple, sometimes homemade, instruments such as harmonicas, violins, mandolins, banjos, and guitars, backed by washboards, kazoo, guimbarde and jugs blown to supply the bass.

Electric blues

After World War II, as African-Americans left the Mississippi Delta and other impoverished areas of the south for urban areas, many musicians gravitated to Memphis' blues scene, changing the classic Memphis blues sound. Musicians such as Howlin' Wolf, Willie Nix, Ike Turner, and B.B.King performed on Beale Street and in West Memphis, and recorded some of the classic electric blues, rhythm and blues and rock & roll records for labels such as Sun Records. Sam Phillips' Sun Records company recorded musicians such as Howlin' Wolf (before he moved to Chicago), Willie Nix, Ike Turner, and B.B.King.[2] Electric Memphis blues featured "explosive, distorted electric guitar work, thunderous drumming, and fierce, declamatory vocals."[3] Musicians involved with Sun Records included Joe Hill Louis, Willie Johnson and Pat Hare.[4][5]

Memphis blues musicians

See also


  1. ^ Tony Bolden, Afro-Blue: Improvisations in African American Poetry and Culture, 2004, University of Illinois Press, ISBN 978-0-252-02874-8
  2. ^ J. Broven, Record Makers and Breakers: Voices of the Independent Rock ʹnʹ Roll Pioneers Music in American Life (University of Illinois Press, 2009), pp. 149–154.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Robert Palmer, "Church of the Sonic Guitar", pp. 13-38 in Anthony DeCurtis, Present Tense, Duke University Press, 1992, pp. 24-27. ISBN 0-8223-1265-4.
  5. ^ DeCurtis, Anthony (1992). Present Tense: Rock & Roll and Culture (4. print. ed.). Durham, N.C.:  

External links

  • Memphis Blues Society
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.