A Medley of Blues Icons by Helah Blumhagen

Seattle artist Helah Blumhagen describes her 8.4ft. long and 3 feet wide mural of historial blues musicians at the 2008 Port Townsend Country Blues Festival.

The following musicians appear in the mural from left to right:

  • Blind Lemon Jefferson The king of Texas country blues (1893-1929) "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" and "Black Snake Moan"
  • Ma Rainey "Mother of the Blues" (1886-1939) Key songs: "C.C. Rider" and "Bo-Weavil Blues"
  • Charley Patton Original king of the Delta blues (1887-1934) Key songs: "A Spoonful Blues" and "Pony Blues"
  • Mississippi Fred McDowell Straight, natural, acoustic blues (1904-1972) Key songs: "You Got To Move" and "61 Highway"
  • Robert Johnson At the crossroads, he made a deal with the devil… (1911-1938) Key songs: "Sweet Home Chicago" and "Crossroads"
  • Bessie Smith "The Empress of the Blues" – first major blues and jazz singer on record (1894-1937) Key songs: "Downhearted Blues" and "Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out"
  • Muddy Waters Chicago post-war electric blues, major rock & roll influence (1915-1983) Key songs: "Mannish Boy" and "I’ve Got My Mojo Working"
  • Jimmy Yancey First boogie-woogie pianist to record an album of solos, never quit his day job as groundskeeper at Chicago’s Comiskey Park (1894-1951) "Yancey Special" and "Jimmy’s Stuff"
  • Lightin’ Hopkins Texas country bluesman who bridged the gap between urban and rural styles (1912-1982) Key songs: "Mojo Hand" and "Baby Please Don’t Go"
  • Mississippi John Hurt Fingerpicking, gospel-tinged blues enjoyed a revival in the 60s folk movement (1893-1966) Key songs: "Avalon Blues" and "Stack O’ Lee"
  • Howlin’ Wolf Chicago’s southside juke joint shout blues (1910-1976) Key songs: "Killing Floor" and "Smokestack Lightnin’"
  • Tampa Red Slide guitar wizard who rocked the jukes, the streets, vaudeville (1904-1981) Key songs: "Anna Lou Blues" and "Tight Like That"
  • Leroy Carr Pre-war, pre-electric urban blues pianist (1905-1935) Key songs: "How Long, How Long" and "Blues Before Sunrise"

If you are inspired to contribute to this post, please put links to Key Songs in comments.

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