Delta Blues

Son House, whose real name was Eddie James House Jr., was a highly influential American blues musician known for his intense and emotionally charged performances. He played a pivotal role in the development of Delta blues and left a lasting impact on the genre. Here are some key points about Son House:

  1. Early Life and Background: Son House was born on March 21, 1902, in Riverton, Mississippi. He grew up in a rural setting and was exposed to the music of the Mississippi Delta from a young age. He initially sang gospel music in church but later turned to the blues.
  2. Musical Style: Son House's style of playing the blues was characterized by its raw, powerful, and emotionally charged delivery. He was a master of slide guitar technique, often using a bottleneck slide to create a distinctive and haunting sound. His vocals were equally intense and passionate.
  3. Influence on the Delta Blues: Son House's music is considered a cornerstone of the Delta blues style. His recordings from the 1930s, particularly those made for the Paramount label, showcased the Delta blues' characteristics, including slide guitar, open tunings, and songs that often reflected the hardships and experiences of African Americans in the rural South.
  4. Early Recordings: Son House made a series of influential recordings in the early 1930s, including songs like "My Black Mama," "Preachin' the Blues," and "Death Letter Blues." These recordings are regarded as some of the most powerful and enduring examples of early Delta blues.
  5. Robert Johnson Connection: Son House was a mentor to and influenced several other notable blues musicians, including Robert Johnson. The story goes that Johnson sought out Son House for lessons and guidance, and House was said to have remarked that Johnson "sold his soul to the devil" to achieve his remarkable guitar skills.
  6. Retirement and Rediscovery: Son House stopped recording and performing for many years, working as a preacher and laborer. However, he was rediscovered by folklorists and blues enthusiasts during the folk revival of the 1960s. His return to the stage and recording studio introduced his music to a new generation of listeners.
  7. 1960s Revival: During the folk revival, Son House enjoyed a resurgence in popularity. He recorded new albums, performed at music festivals, and was celebrated for his authenticity and deep connection to the blues tradition.
  8. Late Career and Impact: Son House continued to perform and record until the late 1970s. His influence extended to later generations of musicians, including blues-rock and rock artists like Jack White of The White Stripes, who cited House as a significant influence.
  9. Death and Legacy: Son House passed away on October 19, 1988, in Detroit, Michigan. His music and legacy continue to be celebrated as an integral part of the blues canon, and he remains an iconic figure in the history of American music.

Son House's powerful and emotionally charged performances, coupled with his mastery of the Delta blues style, make him an essential figure in the development and preservation of the blues genre. His recordings and live performances continue to inspire and move audiences to this day.