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Acoustic Blues Innovators - Ragtime, Delta, Country, Rural, Finger picking

 

Mississippi Juhn Hurt LiveRobert Johnson Complete Recordings

Acoustic Blues Innovators

Lightnin' Hopkins AnthologyReverend Gary Davis

 
Acoustic Blues Innovators - Ragtime, Delta, Country, Rural, Finger picking

Acoustic Blues Innovators 

Below are some of some of our favorite early blues acoustic music. The artists styles range from rag-time finger picking to Delta, and other rural blues players. What each has in common is that they had a huge influence on many modern musicians. 

This is not meant a definitive list, but an outline of some of the best acoustic rural blues players whose innovations were carried over to the following generations.  

Reverend Gary Davis  
John Lee Hooker
Lightnin' Hopkins 
Mississippi John Hurt
Robert Johnson  
Blind Willie Johnson
Lonnie Jonhson
Muddy Waters
The Slide Guitar: Bottles, Knives & Steel
Newport Folk Festival

We'll be adding more related content.

Acoustic Blues Innovators - Ragtime, Delta, Country, Rural, Finger picking

The Innovators

Acoustic Blues Innovators - Ragtime, Delta, Country, Rural, Finger picking

Reverend Gary Davis 

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Reverend Gary Davis' rag-time finger picking  technique is among the best of them all. So good that he has influenced generations of guitarists. Perhaps none more than Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna, etc. 

Fortunately, there are quality recordings of available of Davis. Between our two recommendations there is only song, "Buck Dance," repeated. 

Pure Religion & Bad Company Rev. Gary Davis at Newport
 
Acoustic Blues Innovators - Ragtime, Delta, Country, Rural, Finger picking

John Lee Hooker 

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John Lee Hooker is known more as an electric than acoustic country guitarist.  

Though, his album The Country Blues of John Lee Hooker is just John and his acoustic guitar playing rural blues, recorded April 1959. 

The Roots of John Lee Hooker is a 22 song compilation of outstanding blues songs performed by his influences. Artists like Leadbelly, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Big Bill Broonzy, and others.  

The Country Blues of John Lee Hooker
The Roots of John Lee Hooker 
Various Artists
 
Acoustic Blues Innovators - Ragtime, Delta, Country, Rural, Finger picking

Lightning Hopkins 

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Lightning Hopkins is one of the most influential blues players whose reach stretched beyond blues -- to soul, jazz, and rock. The number artists that perform his songs is the strongest statement that can be made in this regard. 

His 41 track Anthology is the best introduction to his music. While the Blues Masters compilation is a less comprehensive, it is strong, nevertheless. 

There is no shortage of Hopkins recordings, If you are seeking a more complete collection.

Mojo Hand: The Anthology Blues Masters: The Very Best of Lightnin' Hopkins
 
Acoustic Blues Innovators - Ragtime, Delta, Country, Rural, Finger picking

Mississippi John Hurt 

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The two discs to the right are excellent Mississippi John Hurt releases.

Live is a more generous starting point with 24 tracks. It is primarily from April 1965 at Oberlin College, It is also packaged as The Best Of, but Live has  three bonus tracks. 

Avalon Blues include some essential tracks not on Live, from 40 years earlier. We recommend both of these, both prefer Avalon if we had to select one.  

Live Avalon Blues : Complete 1928 Okeh Recordings
 
Acoustic Blues Innovators - Ragtime, Delta, Country, Rural, Finger picking

Robert Johnson 

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With endorsements from Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, and countless others, what better praise and endorsement could Delta blues legend Robert Johnson earn? 

The two-disc Complete  contains all of Johnson's 41 recordings, 12 are alternative versions  

Hellhound has 24 of his 29 songs.

The Complete Recordings Hellhound on my Trial
 
Acoustic Blues Innovators - Ragtime, Delta, Country, Rural, Finger picking

Blind Willie Johnson 

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Blind Willie Johnson fits the country blues genre as well as gospel genre. He recorded between 1927 and '30. His material was covered by Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, The Grateful Dead, and Jorma Kaukonen to name a few. 

His material is a cross between Rev. Gary Davis and Robert Johnson. The writing is more in line with Davis, but rather than a rag time finger picking approach, his playing is more like R. Johnson's. 

The Complete Recordings

2 discs

Dark Was the Night

1 disc

 
Acoustic Blues Innovators - Ragtime, Delta, Country, Rural, Finger picking

Lonnie Johnson 

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Lonnie Johnson's four disc box-set The Original Guitar Wizard was listed with a retail price of only $24.95! 

Nearly 100 songs.

Recordings made between 1928 and 1952. 

Comprehensive liner notes are included. 

The Original Guitar Wizard Blues and Ballads
 
Acoustic Blues Innovators - Ragtime, Delta, Country, Rural, Finger picking

Muddy Waters

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Muddy Waters Folk Singer is not folk music, rather blues. The title was a marketing theme. This gem of an album includes Muddy Waters and Buddy Guy on guitar, and on most of the tracks Willie Dixon plays bass and Clifton James plays drums.

The five bonus tracks are electric and were recorded on 4/9/1964, and Oct. 1964 with two different line-ups.

Folk Singer The Complete Plantation Recordings
 
Acoustic Blues Innovators - Ragtime, Delta, Country, Rural, Finger picking

The Slide Guitar: Bottles, Knives & Steel

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These two releases are good compilations of the early great blues players. Some of my favorites include Blind Willie Johnson, Robert Johnson, and The Slide Guitar: Bottles, Knives & Steel  The Slide Guitar: Bottles, Knives & Steel Vol. 2
 
Acoustic Blues Innovators - Ragtime, Delta, Country, Rural, Finger picking

Newport Folk Festival: Best of the Blues 1959-1968

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This three disc collection is a superb compilation of great blues players performing at the Newport Folk Festival. The liner notes are by John Milward. Each disc is about an hour and they are grouped as follows, disc 1 Delta Blues, disc 2 Country Blues, and disc 3 Urban Blues.

I included the Bob Dylan link to the right as that tour followed his historic electric performance at the festival in 1965. Too, The American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1966 DVD's should be of interest.

Disc: 1 
1. Sliding Delta - Mississippi John Hurt 
2. Candy Man - Mississippi John Hurt 
3. Coffee Blues - Mississippi John Hurt 
4. Stagolee - Mississippi John Hurt 
5. Here I Am Lord Send Me - Mississippi John Hurt 
6. Pallet On Your Floor - Mississippi John Hurt 
7. Devil Got My Woman - Skip James 
8. Hard Time Killing Floor Blues - Skip James 
9. Preaching Blues - Son House 
10. Death Letter Blues - Son House 
11. Empire State Express - Son House 
12. Son Blues - Son House 
13. Aberdeen Mississippi Blues - Bukka White 
14. Louise - Mississippi Fred McDowell 
15. If The River Was Whiskey - Mississippi Fred McDowell 
16. Walkin' Blues - Muddy Waters 
17. I Can't Be Satisfied - Muddy Waters 

Disc: 2 
1. Levee Camp Blues - Robert Pete Williams 
2. Midnight Boogie - Robert Pete Williams 
3. On My Way From Texas - Robert Pete Williams 
4. Freddie - Mance Lipscomb 
5. So Different Blues - Mance Lipscomb 
6. God Moves On The Water (The Sinking Of The Titanic) - Mance Lipscomb 
7. San Francisco Bay Blues - Jesse Fuller 
8. I Double Double Do Love You - Jesse Fuller 
9. Samson & Delilah - Reverend Gary Davis 
10. I Won't Be Back No More - Reverend Gary Davis 
11. Intro/The Train Is Leaving - Brownie McGhee/Sonny Terry 
12. Drink Muddy Water - Brownie McGhee/Sonny Terry 
13. Long Gone - Brownie McGhee/Sonny Terry 
14. Key To The Highway - Brownie McGhee/Sonny Terry 
15. My Baby Done Changed The Lock On The Door - Brownie McGhee/Sonny Terry 
16. Clean Up At Home - Sleepy John Estes 

Disc: 3 
1. The Woman I'm Loving, She's Taken My Appetite - Lightnin' Hopkins 
2. Baby Please Don't Go - Lightnin' Hopkins 
3. Shake That Thing - Lightnin' Hopkins 
4. Tupelo - John Lee Hooker 
5. Bus Station Blues - John Lee Hooker 
6. Let's Make It - John Lee Hooker 
7. Great Fire Of Natchez - John Lee Hooker 
8. Boom Boom - John Lee Hooker 
9. I Can't Quit You Baby/Stop Now Baby - John Lee Hooker 
10. How Long - Memphis Slim 
11. Black Cat Crossed My Path - Memphis Slim 
12. Harlem Bound - Memphis Slim 
13. Piano Instrumental - Memphis Slim 
14. Blow Wind Blow - Muddy Waters/Otis Spann 
15. Flood - Muddy Waters/Otis Spann 
16. See See Rider - The Chambers Brothers 
17. Blues With A Feeling - Paul Butterfield Blues Band 
18. Born In Chicago - Paul Butterfield Blues Band 

Newport Folk Festival: Best of the Blues 1959-1968
Acoustic Blues Innovators - Ragtime, Delta, Country, Rural, Finger picking
 
Roots N' Blues: Retrospective 1925-1950
4 Discs
Blues Story
2 Discs
Story of the Blues
2 Discs

 

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