Welcome to the first of what will be a very irregular series of me exploring different musical genres.
As Muddy Waters said, "the blues had a baby and they called it rock 'n' roll". I'm no expert on the blues but after listening to Lead Belly in the latest "Song of the Week" entry I moved on to a few other artists.
Lead Belly and many early folk blues singers were recorded by a very famous man called Alan Lomax. You can look him up easily but to cut a long story short, he did many, many field recordings of music being played and sung by sharecroppers and prison inmates from the early 1930s. He then carried this on across the USA, Spain, UK and Italy. I've just ordered a book about his life and there look to be some really good collections of the recordings so I'll seek out a few. Apparently there are over 17,000 tracks available online. I'll report back.
Here's a track from 1933 recorded in a prison in Texas.
Lightning Washington & Prisoners – Good God Almighty (1933) - http://youtu.be/3O3vEOwFuOo
I like the story that Alan went looking to record Robert Johnson, found out he'd died, and as a result recorded Honeyboy Edwards and Muddy Waters.
Honeyboy Edwards – Spread My Raincoat Down (1942) - http://youtu.be/fATSQa-0iII
Muddy Waters – Country Blues (1941) -http://youtu.be/DCL_LpOlTYA
Another story that tickles my fancy is the reason that Honeyboy started with the electric guitar in 1946. His National acoustic got stolen!
Son House is another famous bluesman. And I just love the Wikipedia entry about his life; "