Electric Blues

Electric blues is a genre of blues music distinguished by the use of amplified, bass guitars or harmonicas. The electric blues is usually framed within several sub-genres of blues, like Chicago blues, Texas blues and Memphis blues.

The electric blues emerged as a genre towards the middle of the 1930s. T-Bone Walker is regarded as the first celebrity electric blues artist. Born in Texas and after moving to Los Angeles for his recordings in the early 1940s, he mixed blues to Rhythm and Blue and jazz elements during his long career.

After World War II, the amplified blues music became popular in American cities such as Chicago, Memphis, Detroit, and St. Louis. It was played at small parties attended by largely migrated African-Americans. In the late 1940s, the blues artists based in Chicago began to use amplification, like John Lee Williamson and Johnny Shines. The first recording of this new style took place in 1947 and 1948 with musicians like Johnny Young, Floyd Jones, and Snooky Pryor.

The first American artists of electric blues inspired the birth of the British blues to the 1960s style. This includes musicians and bands like John Mayall, Eric Clapton, The Yardbirds and the first members of Fleetwood Mac as well as groups of famous rock music as led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones.

Since the late 60s, the Electric Blues began to decline in the mainstream popularity. But it did continue to have a strong following in the US, Britain and elsewhere. Many musicians who began their careers in the 1950s continuing to record and perform, often producing breakthrough stars.

Electric Blues Radio

Electric Blues Musicians

In the 1970s and 80s, it absorbed different influences, particularly from rock and soul music. Stevie Ray Vaughan was the biggest star influenced by the blues rock and paved the way for guitarists like Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Jonny Lang. Practitioners electric blues influenced by soul in the 1970s and 80s included Joe Louis Walker, most successful Robert Cray and Veteran Linsey Alexander, who is known for his original Chicago blues influenced by soul, R & B and funk.

Bonnie Raitt has been one of the leading artists in acoustic and electric blues, since her breakthrough commercial success Nick of Time in 1989. After the success of John Lee Hooker with his album The Healer (1989), many artists began to return to blues. One would include Gary Moore, who began with Still Got the Blues (1990) and Eric Clapton with From the Cradle.

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