By the 1960s, Chicago blues had peaked and a backlash to electrified roots music was in full swing on college campuses and coffeehouses across America. At the Newport Folk Festival, old blues artists performed after being re-discovered by amateur musicologists who had scoured the South in search of their heroes. Suddenly, artists like Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, Skip James, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Reverend Gary Davis, and others were playing to young, white audiences who appreciated their music’s authenticity. The ‘60s blues revival was linked to the folk boom that spawned Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary, the Kingston Trio, and Simon and Garfunkel, leading the way for the permanent integration of country blues into the American roots music canon. Using remembrances from artists such as Bonnie Raitt, John Sebastian, Jorma Kaukonen and others who were profoundly influenced by the old bluesmen they heard perform at folk fests and coffeehouses, this episode brings the blues into the modern era. Classic recordings from the Newport Folk Festival and recollections from Newport Folk Fest founder George Wein highlight this episode. The episode’s performance comes from John Hammond.
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