The Mississippi
The Mississippi River.

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It began in Africa with one tribe kidnapping people from neighbouring villages, who were then forced on to ships and taken off to America. They were eventually sold into slavery for a few hundred dollars each and made to work on the plantations in the south. With them came their customs, language, dress and their songs which would be sung in the cotton fields to help the days go by. From these people came the children who grew up to become the great Blues singers and musicians whose stories will be told in the pages that follow.

Most, like Charlie Patton, Willie Dixon, Magic Sam, Bo Diddley, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker & B.B. King came from Mississippi, while others came from the surrounding areas, Jimmy Witherspoon from Arkansas, Blind Willie McTell and Tampa Red from Georgia, Leadbelly, Memphis Minnie and Little Walter from Louisiana, but still all from the south.

Also from this area William Christopher Handy born on 16th November 1876, in Florence, Alabama, who became the "Father of the Blues" and the composer of "St. Louis Blues" and "Beale Street Blues".

Then there was Charlie Patton also from Mississippi who was "The King of the Blues" with songs like "Rattlesnake Blues", "Going to Move to Alabama" and "Shake It and Break It".

Around the end of the 1950's, the blues was completely dry. But in the 1960's, when groups like The Yardbirds (which included Eric Clapton), The Animals, John Mayall with his Bluesbreakers and The Rolling Stones, played the blues and mentioned record labels where great blues music could be found, it revived the interest; Chess Bros "Aristocrat Record Label" in Chicago, was just one example.
One song in particular is "Little Red Rooster" written by Willie Dixon and covered by Howlin' Wolf and The Rolling Stones.
Now we have Records, Tapes, CD's, Books, Magazines and some have even have their history on the Internet.

More Information.

Time Line 1900 to 1990.

Map SouthW.C. HandyBessie SmithMemphis MinnieCharlie Patton

Click in map for larger picture.

Mississippi Flag

Mississippi Flag

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