Top legends of the St. Louis Blues Sound

St. Louis has always been a hotbed for blues music. The city has produced some of the genre’s biggest names, including Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Jimmy Reed, and Howlin’ Wolf.

Today, there are still many artists and purveyors of St. Louis blues music. In no particular order, here are 10 of them.

Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee

Sonny Terry (born Saunders Terrell) and Brownie McGhee (born Walter Brown McGhee) were American blues musicians well known for their work together as a duo. They both were born Blind and developed a distinctive style of blues harmonica playing that incorporated Terry’s “whooping” and whistling techniques. They recorded over fifty songs together for various labels including Apollo, OKeh, Columbia, Bluebird, and RCA Victor 

Muddy Waters

McKinley Morganfield (born April 4, 1913), better known as Muddy Waters, was an American blues musician who is often cited as the “father of modern Chicago blues”. He was a major figure in the post-World War II blues boom, bringing Chicago blues to a wide audience in the 1950s with his band, the Muddy Waters Blues Band. Waters’s style of play was unique and was influenced by the earlier styles of Mississippi Delta blues musicians such as Robert Johnson and Son House. Waters’s music featured electric guitar and drum kit, and a large harmonica section.

Robert Johnson: Robert Leroy Johnson

(May 8, 1911 – August 16, 1938) was an American blues singer, songwriter and musician. His landmark recordings in 1936 and 1937 display a combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent that have influenced later generations of musicians. Johnson’s poorly documented life and death at age 27 have given rise to much legend.  

Jimmy Reed

: Mathis James “Jimmy” Reed (September 6, 1925 – August 29, 1976) was an American blues musician and songwriter. His style is characterized by a simple, shuffle rhythm, played on an electric guitar, amplified with his signature design of the Fender tweed amplifier. Reed was born in Dunleith, Mississippi. He learned the harmonica and guitar from his friend Eddie Taylor. After several years honing his skills, he moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1948, where he influenced many budding blues musicians, including Little Walter Jacobs and Muddy Waters.

Howlin’ Wolf: Chester Arthur Burnett

(June 10, 1910 – January 10, 1976), known as Howlin’ Wolf, was a Chicago blues singer, guitarist, and harmonica player, originally from Mississippi. With a booming voice and imposing physical presence, he is one of the best-known Chicago blues artists. The guitarist and harmonica player Junior Wells was long a close associate.

Willie Dixon

:William James “Willie” Dixon (July 1, 1915 – January 29, 1992) was an American blues musician, singer, songwriter, arranger and record producer. A major figure in the Chicago blues scene, Dixon is recognized as one of the most prolific songwriters of his time. He wrote or co-wrote over 500 songs, many of which have been recorded by some of the most famous blues and jazz artists.

BB King: Riley B. King

(September 16, 1925 – May 14, 2015), known professionally as B.B. King, was an American blues singer, electric guitarist, songwriter, and record producer. King introduced a sophisticated style of soloing based on fluid string bending and shimmering vibrato that influenced many later electric blues guitarists.

John Lee Hooker:

John Lee Hooker (August 22, 1917 – June 21, 2001) was an American blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist. The son of a sharecropper, he rose to prominence performing an electric guitar-style adaptation of Delta blues. Hooker often incorporated synthesizers into his recordings to give them a modern edge.

T-Bone Walker: Aaron Thibeaux “T-Bone” Walker

(May 28, 1910 – March 16, 1975) was an American blues guitarist, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who was a pioneer and innovator of the electric guitar and was the first important electric blues guitar soloist. His solid body electric guitar, “The Squire”, is one of the first commercially available electric guitars, and Walker’s distinctive guitar style influenced electric blues guitarists.

Koko Taylor: Cora Anna Walton

(September 28, 1928 – June 3, 2009), better known as Koko Taylor, was an American blues singer. She was popularly known as the “Queen of the Blues”, and was recognized as one of the most influential blues artists of her generation.


On Key

Related Posts