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Electric Blues

Are there other styles?

Other styles that were also electrified were the Texas blues, developed by Blind Lemon Jefferson or Lightnin Hopkins, and the Memphis blues with artists like Furry Lewis and a young Ike Turner with his band The Kings of Rhythm.

In Louisiana appears the zydeco, a combination of the Cajun musical tradition and elements of the blues. There, too, in Baton Rouge, swamp blues is developed, with performers like Slim Harpo and his mastery of the harmonica.

Clifton Chenier - Ay Tete Fee (1955)

Adaptation to zydeco music of the song Hey, Little Girl composed by Professor Longhair in New Orleans. It was produced by Bumps Blackwell, known for his work with Little Richard.


During his youth, Clifton Chenier worked in the fields as a sharecropper and performed at local dances in his area. In 1956, he moved to Houston, Texas, where he had great success in the local Cajun dance halls. With his band he established himself as the archetype of zydeco and created a repertoire full of blues, waltzes, rock and roll and two-steps. His absolute control of the accordion and his powerful voice with which he sang in English and Acadian French, the dialect of his ancestors, was surprising. Called the "King of Zydeco", he achieved international success with tours in Europe and Japan.

Which ones are more influential?

The migration of guitarists from Texas blues to California led to the emergence of the West Coast blues, in which the use of piano and jazz-influenced guitar solos stand out. Their teacher was T-Bone Walker.

Especially important is the figure of John Lee Hooker. He developed a style of blues, elastic and unpredictable, which they called guitar boogie. It is based on a guitar that provides rhythm and supports his ancestral voice.

John Lee Hooker - Boogie Chillen (1948)

Self-made electric blues song where he talks about his childhood. It is considered one of the most important and influential recordings in the birth of rock and roll.


The king of Detroit rhythm and blues was born on a plantation in Mississippi. The son of a sharecropper, he began developing a personal style, described as talking-blues, close to the primitive blues of the Delta but with free metrics. Later, he moved to Detroit where he worked as a janitor at the Chrysler factory. After work, he went to Hastings Street in Paradise Valley, the cultural center of the city's black community. There were the jazz and blues clubs where he eventually played and where he electrified his style.

To what extent did it influence the birth of rock and roll?

The first American electric blues artists inspired the birth of the British blues of the sixties, a style that includes musicians and bands like John Mayall, Eric Clapton, The Yardbirds or The Rolling Stones.

On the other hand, the Chicago blues influenced Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry, creators of black rock and roll. While Elvis Presley and Bill Haley relied on boogie-woogie and country to create white rock and roll.

Muddy Waters - Rolling Stone (1948)

Adaptation of an anonymous delta blues song called Catfish Blues. From this version of Muddy Waters the famous British group formed in the sixties took its name.

The father of the Chicago blues was born on a plantation in the Mississippi Delta, where he learned to play the guitar. Later, he emigrated to Chicago and traded in his acoustic guitar for an electric one. With a rich and deep voice and his charismatic personality, he soon became the leading figure of the Chicago blues. His work and style has influenced many artists in various musical genres, from Chuck Berry's rock and roll to Led Zepellin's British hard rock. Together with Slim Harpo, they dazzled young people who would form The Rolling Stones.