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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Memphis blues
The Memphis blues is a style of blues music that was created in 1920s and 1930s by Memphis-area musicians like Frank Stokes, Sleepy John Estes, Furry Lewis and Memphis Minnie. The style was popular in vaudeville and medicine shows, and was associated with Memphis' main entertainment area, Beale Street. Some musicologists believe that it was in the Memphis blues that the separate roles of rhythm and lead guitar were defined. This two guitar concept has become standard in rock and roll and much of popular music.
In addition to guitar based blues, jug bands, such as Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers and the Memphis Jug Band, were extremely popular practitioners of Memphis blues. The jug band style empasized the danceable, syncopated rhythms of early jazz and a range of other archaic folk styles. It was played on simple, sometimes homemade, instruments such as harmonicas, violins, mandolins, banjos, and guitars, backed by washboards, kazoo, Jews harp and jugs blown to supply the bass.
After World War II, electric instruments became popular among Memphis blues musicians. As African-Americans left the Mississippi Delta and other impoverished areas of the south for urban areas, many musicians gravitated to Memphis' blues scene, changing the classic Memphis blues sound. Musicians such as Howlin' Wolf, Willie Nix, Ike Turner, and B.B.King performed on Beale Street and in West Memphis, and recorded some of the classic electric blues, rhythm and blues and rock & roll records for labels such as Sun Records. These musicians had a strong influence on later musicians in these styles, notably the early rock & rollers and rockabillies, many of whom also recorded for Sun Records.
"Memphis Blues" is also the title of a song published by W.C. Handy in 1912 . It is not the first blues published, but was an important early blues-influenced hit. Handy based it on his earlier political campaign song, "Mr. Crump Don't Like It."

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