What comes with this word? Rock does for sure! Black does too. And those roots lie in blues, an awe-inspiring  anthology of Black liberation sound.





We learned that enslaved African and free African-descended/Caribbean folks had compounded on baroque and operatic (European), ancestral folk music.

This continous conversation (and appropriation) all points to the power in Indigenous artistries! You've seen several pioneers in other genres. Punk is a child of blues, zydeco, reggae, jazz and rock.

So let's gooo! Alberta Hunter had one of the first blues hits, Ma Rainey covered it: "Downhearted Blues".

Papa Charlie Jackson (or Baby Franklin Seals, above) was the first recorded bluesman here in America (U.S.)


His two-year dedication is an achievement for any age, ushered a stellar discography via Paramount Records.

Blind Lemon, Charley Patton, Ma Rainey, Ida Cox all passed through this recording studio. Ida and Ma Rainey recorded with Papa during the 1930's!

Punk/avant-garde heavy rocker Jack White is from Wisconsin, another blues birthplace since Paramount was a Wisconsin Chair Co. subsidiary.

"The great irony, of course, is that they created the richest repository of early American vernacular music, what America sounded like...the Library of Congress had no field recordings until the 1930s." (Rolling Stone)

It is easier to reinvent when gaps exist through time. Do people remember rock's creators?

Screamin' Jay Hawkins is a musical all-star. His anti-authority and pro-Black, clashing tunes and aesthetic choices are still traditional punk in 2020.

Those pulsing riffs, drums and aggressive tones are based in the power of public commons: rocking as one openly. Little Richard was punk just by being themselves! He created and sang for their own youth group (Tiny Tots Quartet).

They hit the road by 13 years old to start anew. "Good Golly Miss Molly! "

This rich history will shine proudly. You know PURE HELL were the first Black punk band, right? They continue to rock today. Kenny Gordon, Lenny Boles, Preston Morris and Michael Sanders leave an unforgettable mark since 1974: Philly, Black, loud and proud.

Honeychild Coleman shares a momentous move to New York City like them. The city is a game-changer. Their underground presence grew into mainstream recognition.

Curtis Knight is an established musician who discovered Jimi Hendrix. Pure Hell, he and his girlfriend Kathy Knight quickly gravitated toward studio sessions and touring plans (Dazed Digital)!

Their boots were definitely made for walking. Reggae artists contributed to the skanky sway and deep bass groove that many diasporic Black rockers eagerly heard as youth, too.

Metal has the same Caribbean roots. Mosh is an Americanization of patois, "mashing it up", mixing and building on rhythm! Respect the scene.

Proto-punk manifested itself in the iconic 1971 trio Death (Detroit): three legendary brothers Bobby, Dannis and David. They would create the blueprint for all subsequent punk after their heyday. We are fascinated by such a new sound, fifty-plus years later.


"Politicians In My Eyes" scorched the leading government of those times and silently laid the foundation for other anthems to fight.

"It was quite a fight to maintain identity. Even right there in the neighborhood. So, when you ask how it feels man–it feels really good. To go from everybody hating you…to everybody loving you. It took, what? 30-some years." (Detroit Music Magazine)

"What I saw was missing in those early punk rock days, was the message and how it wasn’t too positive. That’s where I would change the message and make it more positive.

We had a philosophy: PMA. Positive Mental Attitude," H.R. Hudson shared to American Songwriter. Reggae's alternative, resistant lifestyle and antifascism, long dreads inspired arevolutionary scene. It bites back and doesn't waste time because historically the low-income musicians in DIY punk scenes share equipment AND space.