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It’s mostly played on guitars, mostly by men (with the exception of Memphis Minnie, Lottie Kimbrough and Geeshie Wiley here), mostly by black men (other than Dock Boggs, Dick Justice and Frank Hutchison here) and it’s also music of the first generation who could be influenced by records and the radio as well as hearing other musicians in person. It’s the roots of later artists like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, who in turn became the inspiration for even later white ones like The Rolling Stones, Cream and ever onwards. It’s the deep roots of much rock music of the later 20th century and onwards.
On a personal note, you’ll hear loads here that profoundly influenced English folk club musicians of the 1960s generation – not just us blues boomers like myself, Jo Ann Kelly, Dave Kelly, Mike Cooper and all, but everybody through Davy Graham, Wizz Jones, John Renbourn and on to the people who created the classic English folk guitar styles like Martin Carthy (who always credits Big Bill Broonzy as a major influence on his thumb work). We were really lucky that quite a few of the original artists like Son House, Skip James, Bukka White, Big Joe Williams, Sleepy John Estes and more were still alive and came to the UK on tour so we could – sometimes literally – sit at their feet.If you know my own repertoire down the years, you’ll hear lots of tunes, riffs, lines and verses, slapped strings, syncopation, foot pounding and bottleneck ideas that have entered my music by osmosis, even though the songs are no longer country blues in form and my accent stopped being a bad attempt at a southern US one way back in the early 1970s (full credit to our national folk treasure Shirley Collins for inspiring that change). “Cultural appropriation” hadn’t been invented as a Bad Thing back then: we just absorbed things which we heard, loved and struck a (loud, often open G!) chord.
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