Professor’s Records: Son House

Born in Clarksdale, Mississippi in 1902 (or 1886 if others are to be believed), Son House is an early blues influence on artists from Muddy Waters to Jack White. He has been named the Father of Folk Blues by some, and the title fits.

Photo by Giuseppe Pino in his book “Jazz My Love”
Photo by Giuseppe Pino in his book “Jazz My Love”

It wasn’t until he heard his friend (from what he can remember, either James McCoy or Willie Wilson) play bottleneck guitar that Son House realized his love for the blues sound. In fact, he even preached against the blues before then! Here is a clip of House explaining and singing a bit of his history with the church, religion, and the blues:

Later, Son House would fade from the public eye, only to be rediscovered in the 1960s by a few collectors in Rochester, New York. This discovery led to a reawakening of interest in his music, which led to Son House touring during the 60s and 70s.

Although he died in 1988, his music continues to inspire artists today. Jack White, of the White Stripes, was particularly enamored by this music, as he explains in the film It Might Get Loud

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