African or Afro-descended music is futuristic, melodic. It's timeless! Fiddles, gourd drums, lutes, acoustic parts of our body were also played during farm work on fields and community celebrations in Africa...

Banning it didn't make a difference. Racially targeting Black rock's ancestors and segregating their lives still led to  American popular music: blues, bluegrass and soul which non-African American communities were eager to imitate but couldn't duplicate.

Blues' emotive, gripping notes were born out of that Middle Passage, really feeling it. Violin, Play Me The Blues breathed fresh life into the folk-originated style, and brought Black fiddlers,

harmonica players, guitarists and violinists to America's nationwide attention in 1926. Old Hat Records holds a sacred place for blues because of this historical point: a shift to guitar! This would be the next sound for a new generation. We suggest "The Afro-American Fiddler"  by Theresa Jenoure.

Many Black artists stand in their own genre and touched hearts beyond them. Etta Baker, Robert Johnson,  Rosetta Tharpe, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Tina Turner, Chuck Berry are blues icons, right?

You can find their imprint through rock 'n roll! This is how greats like Charley Patton absorbed more than one skill.

Papa Charlie Jackson covered so much musical ground, that we are amazed today. 'Lawdy, Lawdy Blues' was the first recorded popular male blues track in this country. He cut tracks with artists Ida Cox ("Mister Man"), fellow legends Ma Rainey ("Ma and Pa Poorhouse Blues"), Blind Arthur Blake, and Big Bill Broonzy.

Louisiana-vaudeville roots led to jumpin' jazz, bluegrass and ragtime influences in Jackson's pre-blues. Ma Rainey was a blues-rock soulstress before her time.

 Blues is the monumental groundwork for American music. His 1934-43 albums are incomparably great.

Have you heard "Tell Me Baby" or "Rock Island Line" (a Black prison/work song from Arkansas)? Respect Lead Belly's craft! "The King of the 12-String" played nothing half-heartedly. This predated truss rods, so his haunting tone came through "slack", not standard tuning.

Lead Belly sang like a rock star and proficiently played accordion, guitar, mandolin, even the piano from our research. Lead Belly's life/timeline is the third coolest chronology ever. Did you know they toured with Blind Lemon too? What a great bandmate!

"Midnight Special" and these pre-rock hits are soulful, timeless. Blind Lemon "could feel his way around" the sound but still needed walking guides. Enter "Lightnin'" Hopkins and T-Bone Walker.

Paramount Records and Blind Lemon recorded the song "Black Snake Moan", later a famous film with that title. Memphis Minnie reigns as "Queen of the Blues".

Read it here. We love Black herstory. Minnie had an incredible gift in banjo (seven years old) AND guitar picking (11 years old). That is amazing!

Her signature whistling and fiercely personal songwriting, the sharp counter-rhythms won out Big Bill Broonzy in a contest! She left an impression on everyone from Chuck Berry, Big Mama Thornton to Muddy Waters, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Little Willie Brown and more.

"Little" Willie Brown called her "the guitar king" while touring with Son House! Yes, "When the Levee Breaks" was originally by Memphis Minnie!

Memphis Minnie had a contract with Chess Records: the same 1950's label as Chuck Berry. Recall "Me and My Chauffeur Blues", "Hoodoo Lady Blues"? African-American femmes guided this art form.

He was born on May 8, 1911 to Julia Majors, and moved to Memphis later. Can't You Hear The Wind Howl? The Life and Music of Robert Johnson is so powerful if you have yet to watch! Its incredible multi-media/re-enactments mix interviews only for the film: Son House, Keith Richards, Honeyboy Edwards, Johnny Shines and more with Keb Mo' and Danny Glover's performances.

Netflix's 2019 documentary ReMastered: Devil at the Crossroads sheds much light, though it's best to hear from the source. The Culture Rock Griot's Hall of Fame Chronicle with Steven Johnson, Robert's grandson is great!

Robert Leroy Johnson lit fire in The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and generations afterward: possibly "the greatest folk-blues musician that ever lived"! He rightfully entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, and won a 1990 Grammy Award for his complete recorded work!

Robert Johnson did many rock-rooted things before the genre was officially made. Rosetta Tharpe is definitely our beloved "Godmother of Rock 'n Roll". The same goes for her.

She had roots in the Baptist Church and an artistically expressive family who amplified her talents. Sister left Arkansas for Chicago in the Great Migration. Her mother performed alongside Rosetta then!

Sister Rosetta told audiences about Black faith, pleasure, rebellion, ROCK. "Rock Me" did what Sister Rosetta promised! We owe Sister Rosetta Tharpe so much for paving the way, because her life redefined this music forever.

It's also worth mentioning: she is one of the first LGBTQ+ Black blues/rock musicians out here. Little Richard, Prince, and many more exist proudly in that legacy.

Chuck Berry was born in Saint Louis, Missouri (the flashpoint for Midwestern blues like Chicago)!

"Race music", bawdy R&B grew into rock through Chuck and his distorted amp, guitar. Muddy Waters brought Berry to Chess Records and the rest is history! "Johnny B. Goode" is a great song because America doesn't quite know how to handle Black rock.

"Rock 'n Roll Music" was here to stay. "The Father of Rock 'n Roll" created the blueprint for all of us now.