No one knows for sure when the blues actually became a music form of its own, but most authorities agree it was in the late nineteenth and early 20th centuries. Beginning the show from the same Tutwiler, Mississippi railroad platform that W.C. Handy first heard the blues in 1903, “Country Blues” documents the birth of the blues in and around the Stovall plantation, just outside Clarksdale. The episode also traces early blues in Texas and the Piedmont area of North Carolina. Using interview clips from established blues historians such as David Evans, Lawrence Cohn, and Sam Charters, we’ll trace the earliest blues path cut by first generation bluesmen such as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Blake, Charley Patton, Son House, Tommy Johnson, and Mississippi John Hurt. The episode’s concluding performance will be from Chris Thomas King, famed for his portrayal of Tommy Johnson in the film, “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?”
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