All Archives and Special Collections subject guides are moving to the LibGuides platform, and will be rolled out over the next few weeks. We're proud to announce the new Blues Subject Guide.
David "Honeyboy" Edwards was born in Shaw, Mississippi on 28 June 1915. Around age twelve, Edwards began playing guitar. He learned from Big Joe Williams, Charlie Patton, and Tommy Johnson. Honeyboy would go on to travel all over the United States, hopping from one train to the next. He recounts many of these tales of being an itinerant musician and gambling in his 1997 book The World Don't Owe Me Nothing.
On 14 June 1939, Ethel Waters became the first African American star of a television show, when NBC aired the Ethel Waters Show. This one-time television variety show special featured musical performances, dramatic vignettes, and more.
The Skip James song "Devil Got My Woman" is one of the most haunting blues songs, indeed in all of recorded music. The song's minor open tuning, sparse accompaniment, and mournful, falsetto singing are the base for what some have termed the Bentonia style (after James' hometown). This song likely influenced Robert Johnson's "Hellhound on My Trail," and served as the real thematic center of Terry Zwigoff's 2001 film Ghost World.
The Blues Archive just acquired this letter written by B. B. King, which speaks to the importance of education.
King was a lifelong learner. Before embarking on his first world tour, he purchased multiple language courses on LP. To see a list of the records B. B. King donated from his personal record collection, browse our catalog.
He also enrolled in several correspondence courses, and would complete assignments while riding on his tour bus.
Blues festival season is upon us. With the exception of Helena, Arkansas' King Biscuit Blues Festival, held in October, Clarksdale, Mississippi's April Juke Joint Festival, and a few others, the vast majority of blues festivals in the deep south occur in the summer months.
Here's a snapshot of a couple festivals hitting North Mississippi in May and June: