Bessie Smith
Columbia Records, “St. Louis Blues”

Columbia launched their “race records” division with her signing in 1923

Robert Johnson
Vocalion Records, “Sweet Home Chicago”
Muddy Waters
Chess Records, “Got My Mojo Workin”, “I Just Wanna Make Love to You”

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Music reflected the sound of the city (Chicago Blues). Called the architect of Chicago Blues sound.

Howlin’ Wolf
Chess Records, “Moanin’ at Midnight”

Intense and exciting performer

Bo Diddley
Chess Records, “Bo Diddley”

Famous for instrumentation and “Bo Diddley beat”

BB King
Modern Records, “The Thrill is Gone”, “Sweet Angel”
acoustic (mechanical): sound engraved on a tin cylinder
replaced tin with wax: improved sound quality
Replaces cylinder with flat disc, the format that eventually dominates
Electrical Recording
increases the sonic accuracy of records,
Magnetic tape recording
sound waves converted to electronic signals, imprinted on magnetic tape and then transferred to disc
Networks played music directed at a white, middle class audience: Andrews Sisters, Bing Crosby etc.

Radio used live music, not records

Little Richard
“Tutti Frutti”

Flamboyant artist. Embodied the new music’s sexuality and spirit of rebellion.

A pure strain of rock; sheer physical energy

Chuck Berry
Country and R his main influences. “Maybellene”, “Roll Over Beethoven”

Guitar sound and technique widely imitated.

Wrote about high school, cars, love–things that every teenager, black and white, experienced

Rural music, like the blues…but Country was for white people by white people.
Jimmie Rodgers
First to make “hillbilly” music popular. Mixed country with blues. “The Singing Brakeman”
Hank Williams
Important songwriter and performer: Songs explore virtually every human emotion; a passionate performer

“Move it on Over”

Sun Records in Memphis. Sold to RCA in 1955.