Archive for the ‘Son House’ Category

Author: Alan Balfour

(with kind permission of the author)


“On Friday 26th June 1970 shortly after 10pm, in the somewhat incongruous setting of St. Pancras Town Hall’s fading Victorian splendour, Mississippi bluesman
Eddie “Son” House took the stage for the first date of an intensive four week tour of Britain. He had been before, with the 1967 American Folk Blues Festival, but this
occasion was more momentous as the headlines in the Melody Maker tried to impress on its readership: “Your last chance to see the Son”. There had been a
certain loss of dexterity since his 1967 tour, perhaps to be expected in a man of nearly 70, but what his fingers lacked in precise picking was more than compensated
for by his spine chilling voice and eerie slide playing. House’s opening concert performance was greeted with standing ovations; which was to be the case wherever
he played during those four weeks.”



Author: Bob West

Source: B&R, 207, 4



In 1964, Dick Waterman re-discovered Son House living in Rochester, New York. Son had recorded ten sides for Paramount Records in 1930 and then went on to record for the Library of Congress in 1941 and 1942. Following his rediscovery, Son began recording again, including the classic ‘The Legendary Father Of Folk Blues’ album for Columbia in 1965. He toured the USA playing colleges and clubs and undertaking radio interviews. On 17th March, 1968 Bob West interviewed Son at Lake Union, near Seattle, Washington. Of course much more research has been undertaken in the last forty years on Son House, his contemporaries and Paramount Records. However at the time this interview was conducted, it provided blues fans with a wealth of information about pre-war blues artists and record companies.
In 2005 the ‘missing’ copy of ‘Mississippi County Farm Blues’/ ’Clarksdale Moan’ (Paramount 13096) was discovered. The disc is due to be reissued this year, by Yazoo along with other newly discovered and long lost records.




Son House : Legacy

Posted: September 16, 2011 in Daniel Beaumont, Delta, History, Son House

Author : Daniel Beaumont

Source :

This is a draft of a chapter in an early version of the book. Subsequently some of the material was moved into other chapters, and some of it was saved to be used here. It evaluates the importance of Son House in American music history.

Book : Preachin’ The Blues: The Life & Times of Son House, 2011


“In June of 1964, three young, white blues fans set out from New York City in a Volkswagen, heading for the Mississippi Delta in search of a musical legend. So begins Preachin’ the Blues, the biography of American blues signer and guitarist Eddie James “Son” House, Jr. (1902 – 1988). House pioneered an innovative style, incorporating strong repetitive rhythms with elements of southern gospel and spiritual vocals. A seminal figure in the history of the Delta blues, he was peer and friend of blues greats Charley Patton and Willie Brown, and an important, direct influence on such figures as Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson.

The landscape of Son House’s life and the vicissitudes he endured make for an absorbing narrative, threaded through with a tension between House’s religious beliefs and his spells of commitment to a lifestyle that implicitly rejected it. Drinking, womanizing, and singing the blues caused this tension that is palpable in his music, and becomes explicit in one of his finest performances, “Preachin’ the Blues.” Large parts of House’s life are obscure, not least because his own accounts of them were inconsistent. Author Daniel Beaumont offers a chronology/topography of House’s youth, taking into account evidence that conflicts sharply with the well-worn fable, and he illuminates the obscurity of House’s two decades in Rochester, NY between his departure from Mississippi in the 1940s and his “rediscovery” by members of the Folk Revival Movement in 1964. Beaumont gives a detailed and perceptive account of House’s primary musical legacy: his recordings for Paramount in 1930 and for the Library of Congress in 1941-42. In the course of his research Beaumont has unearthed not only connections among the many scattered facts and fictions but new information about a rumoured murder in Mississippi, and a charge of manslaughter on Long Island – incidents which bring tragic light upon House’s lifelong struggles and self-imposed disappearance, and give trenchant meaning to the moving music of this early blues legend.”



Looking for the blues

Posted: September 4, 2011 in Delta, Son House

Author / Source : Newsweek, 13-07-1964

Original article published in Newsweek, 13-07-1964, on the rediscovery of Son House in Rochester, after a long search of the Mississippi Delta region by Nick Perls, Dick Waterman and Phil Spiro.



Author : Rebecca Davis

Source :  Blues Access, Fall 1998


“Cambridge, Massachusetts, is still remembered as a center of the “folk revival” of the early 1960′. Many of the scene’s denizens – Joan Baez and Tom Rush among them – had learned their music from Pete Seeger and Leadbelly. Some of these folk revivalists occasionally played blues; however, the deepest Delta blues styles took a back seat to the lighter and more approachable sounds of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee.

There were a few, however, who appreciated the more powerful Delta blues, and their interest was almost fanatical in intensity.”



Author : Jas Obrecht

Source : Jas Obrecht Music Archive, Sept. 2010


“In the years before World War II, Son House created some of the purest, most powerful Mississippi Delta blues on record. Playing with partners Charley Patton and Willie Brown, he exerted a profound influence on Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, both of whom copied his music and carried it to new generations. House’s influence still echoes through the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and many other musicians, and in many respects, he is the true father of what’s known today as “deep blues.” Watching Son House perform bottleneck guitar was akin to seeing a locomotive on a downhill run…”