You've merged onto the Highway . . .

walking down a country road . . . where you will find a tribute to 20 great bluesmakers. You might call this The Blue Highway's Hall of Fame or just a gathering place for some of my all-time favorites. Regardless, I think these folks represent the essence of the blues. They're of the first generation of the blues. They created the blues. They are the blues.

We all know that our bluesmakers of all folks cannot possibly be ranked like football teams or mutual funds. I think, in fact, that we'll never know who the truest bluesmakers were or where they came from. Consider the West African griots or that itinerant bluesman that W.C. Handy found and lost at the Tutwiler train depot in 1903. Consider all the Henry Sloans we've never heard and the mothers of those we have. And consider the folks whose paths never crossed those of the white historians or those who sang only to themselves and their God.

Then there are Little Walter Jacobs, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Blind Willie McTell, Mamie Smith, Ma Rainey, Memphis Minnie, Ida Cox, Texas Alexander, Willie Brown, Tommy Johnson, Lonnie Johnson, Furry Lewis, Son Thomas, Barbecue Bob, Louisiana Red, Big Bill Broonzy, Blind Willie Johnson, Jimmy Reed, John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson, Skip James, Sunnyland Slim, Memphis Slim, Peg-Leg Sam, Kokomo Arnold, Big Joe Williams, Otis Spann, Leroy Carr, Scrapper Blackwell, Bo Carter, Blind Blake, Casey Bill Weldon, Big Mama Thornton, Blind Boy Fuller, Peetie Wheatstraw, Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, The Reverend Blind Gary Davis, Johnny Shines, Robert Nighthawk, Sippie Wallace, Champion Jack Dupree, Victoria Spivey, Sticks McGhee, Sleepy John Estes, Freddie King, Roosevelt Sykes, Guitar Slim, Slim Harpo, Z.Z. Hill, Big Walter Horton, J.B. Hutto, J.D. Short, Elizabeth Cotten, Ivory Joe Hunter, J.B. Lenoir, Lightnin' Slim, Magic Sam Maghett, Eddie Boyd, Ishman Bracey, Junior Parker, Lucille Bogan, Professor Longhair, Joe Willie Wilkins, Houston Stackhouse, Frank Stokes, Joe Callicott, Tampa Red, Sam Chatmon, Mance Lipscomb, Hound Dog Taylor, Albert Collins, Washboard Sam, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, Roosevelt "Booba" Barnes, Jack Owens, Frank Frost, Yank Rachell, and Estelle "Mama" and Jimmy "Papa" Yancey. They're not here. They should be.

I should also feature some of today's last vestiges of the blues: Sam Carr, R.L. Burnside, Robert Lockwood Jr., Mojo Buford, Henry Townsend, Pinetop Perkins, Honeyboy Edwards, James Cotton, Floyd McDaniel, Eddie C. Campbell, Mose Vinson, Fruteland Jackson, Bud Spires, Big Jack Johnson, Sam Myers, Jesse Mae Hemphill, Eddy Clearwater, Willie Cobbs, and Clayton Love. It's not too late to see these folks, though you may have to travel a bit to do it. But you can also buy their discs while they can still enjoy your patronage.

Robert Johnson W.C. Handy Willie Dixon

Robert Johnson - Mississippi John Hurt - Bessie Smith
Muddy Waters - B.B. King - Buddy Guy

W.C. Handy - Charley Patton - Blind Lemon Jefferson
Leadbelly - Son House - Bukka White - T-Bone Walker

Willie Dixon - Howlin' Wolf - Sonny Boy Williamson 2
Lightnin' Hopkins - Albert King - Elmore James - John Lee Hooker

Highway 61 The Delta Log
Our seven-day journey through the land where the blues
More than 60 photos from New Orleans to Clarksdale.

The Great Norwegian US Blues Trip '95
Four Norwegian friends live the blues from Texas to Chicago.

The Delta Log 1996
The Highway to Helena through Dr. King's Alabama, up to
Memphis, and down to Helena and the King Biscuit Blues Festival.

Sunflower Scrapbook '97
P.W. Fenton's photojournal of his visit to the 1997 Sunflower
River Blues & Gospel Festival
in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Highway 61 shield Arne Brogger Remembers
The Memphis Blues Caravan - Furry Lewis
Bukka White - Joe Willie Wilkins and Houston Stackhouse
Memphis Piano Red - The Blues Comes To The BBC

Charles Sawyer Considers
The Legacy of B.B. King, from his book
"B.B. King Der Legendare Konig Des Blues"

And More Fine Essays
The Blues: Calling For A Response - A Brief History Of
The Blues - Byther Smith: Working Man's Blues - Can't Find No Heaven:
The Mysteries Of Skip James - The Crossroads - Hangin' With
Mr. Rhodes - Johnson vs. Harris, et al. - led bucket o'blood
The 1995 Chicago Blues Festival - The 1996 Chicago Blues Festival
Remembering Brownie - Rural Blues - W.C. Handy - What Is Blues?

Go To:

Robert Johnson / W.C. Handy / Willie Dixon

The Delta Map / The Essays

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