Delta blues, Chicago blues, vaudeville, boogie-woogie, rhythm & blues.
Origins: Late 19th century to mid-20th century.
- Blues People: Negro Music in White America by Amiri Baraka (as LeRoi Jones), 1963. ︎
- Big Bill Blues by Big Bill Broonzy, 1964. ︎
Charley Patton by John Fahey, 1970.
- Feel Like Going Home: Portraits in Blues and Rock 'n' Roll by Peter Guralnick, 1971.
- Stomping the Blues by Albert Murray, 1976. ︎
- Deep Blues: A Musical and Cultural History of the Mississippi Delta by Robert Palmer, 1982.
Mother of the Blues: A Study of Ma Rainey by Sandra R. Lieb, 1983.
- "Sounds So Good to Me": The Bluesman's Story by Barry Lee Pearson, 1987.
- Virginia Piedmont Blues: The Lives And Art Of Two Virginia Bluesmen by Barry Lee Pearson, 1990.
Woman with Guitar: Memphis Minnie's Blues by Paul Garon, 1992.
- Just Before Jazz: Black Musical Theatre in New York, 1890-1915 by Thomas L. Riis, 1994.
- Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday by Angela Davis, 1999.︎
- Kind Of Blue: The Making Of The Miles Davis Masterpiece by Ashley Kahn, 2000.︎
- Waltzing in the Dark: African American Vaudeville and Race Politics in the Swing Era by Brenda Dixon Gottschild, 2000.
- Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues by Elijah Wald, 2001.
- The Royalty of Negro Vaudeville: The Whitman Sisters and the Negotiation of Race, Gender and Class in African American Theater 1900-1940 by Nadine George-Graves, 2003.
- Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1890-1919 by Tim Brooks, 2004.
- Moanin' at Midnight: The Life and Times of Howlin' Wolf by James Segrest and Mark Hoffman, 2004.
Lost Delta Found: Rediscovering the Fisk University-Library of Congress Coahoma County Study, 1941-1942 by John W. Work III, Lewis Wade Jones, Samuel C. Adams Jr., 2005.
- In Search of the Blues by Marybeth Hamilton, 2007.
- Lead Belly: A Life in Pictures by Tiny Robinson, 2007.
- Jelly's Blues: The Life, Music, And Redemption Of Jelly Roll Morton by Howard Reich, William M. Gaines, 2008.
- Delta Blues: The Life and Times of the Mississippi Masters Who Revolutionized American Music by Ted Gioia, 2008.
Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues by William R. Ferris, 2009.
- The Blues: A Very Short Introduction by Elijah Wald, 2010. ︎
- Preachin' The Blues: The Life & Times Of Son House by Daniel Beaumont, 2011.
- Hidden History of Mississippi Blues by Roger Stolle, 2011.
- Can't Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters by Robert Gordon, 2014. ︎
Huey "Piano" Smith and the Rocking Pneumonia Blues by John Wirt, 2014.
- Louisville Jug Music: From Earl McDonald to the National Jubilee by Michael L. Jones, 2014.
- Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson by Bruce Conforth and Gayle Dean Wardlow, 2019. ︎
- The Blues Come to Texas: Paul Oliver and Mack McCormick's Unfinished Book, compiled by Alan B. Govenar, 2019.
- Fictional Blues: Narrative Self-Invention from Bessie Smith to Jack White by Kimberly Mack, 2020.
I Don't Like the Blues: Race, Place, and the Backbeat of Black Life by B. Brian Foster, 2020.
PODCASTS & RADIO
- Blues Musician "Big" Bill Broonzy interviewed by Alan Lomax in 1947 in Library of Congress. 4 minutes.
- 'Hellhound On My Trail' on Robert Johnson by Peter Breslow for NPR’s All Things Considered, June 2000, 12 minutes.
- Mamie Smith and the Birth of the Blues Market by NPR with Angela Davis, November 2006. 5 minutes. ︎
- The Creators of 'Lonesome Blues' Discuss Its Inspiration, Blind Lemon Jefferson on WGBO’s Blues Break, June 2018, 40 minutes.
- The Great Blues Singer Gladys Bentley Broke All the Rules by Haleema Shah for Smithsonian, March 2019. 26 minutes.
- James Baldwin on Bessie Smith, her “tone,” and blues: Interview with Studs Terkel, conducted December 1961.︎
- “Blues and Bessie Smith; Bessie Smith” by Carman Moore, NYTimes, March 1969. ︎
- “Robert Johnson: The Sound and the Fury” by Greil Marcus, 1986.
- “Musical Innovation in the Blues of Blind Lemon Jefferson” by David Evans, Black Music Research Journal, Vol. 20, No. 1, Spring, 2000.
- “The Language of Blind Lemon Jefferson: The Covert Theme of Blindness” by Luigi Monge, Black Music Research Journal, Vol. 20, No. 1, Spring, 2000.
- “The Ballad of Geeshie and Elvie” by John Jeremiah Sullivan, NYTimes, April 2014. ︎
- This one is especially amazing as an interactive piece of journalism!
- “The Incomparable Legacy of Lead Belly” by Roger Catlin, Smithsonian Mag, February 2015.
- “The Chicago Blues Explosion of 1966” by Evan Minsker, Pitchfork, April 2016.
“77 Year-Old Blues Guitar Pioneer Says Slowing Down Is Not an Option” (on Beverly Watkins) by Sara Haile-Mariam, She Shreds, August 2016.
- “Jug Bands: The Original DIY Music” by Milos Miles, Village Voice, June 2017.
- “Forebears: Bessie Smith, The Empress Of The Blues” by Gwen Thompkins, NPR, January 2018. ︎
“The first black-owned record label in the U.S. wanted to “uplift” black people through music” (on Black Swan Records) by Ashawnta Jackson, Timeline, February 2018.
- “How 'Race Records' Turned Black Music Into Big Business” by Erin Blakemore, History.com, August 2018.
- “Gladys Bentley, Gender-Bending Blues Performer and ’20s Harlem Royalty” by Giovanni Russonello, NYTimes, January 2019. ︎
- “Overlooked No More: Ma Rainey, the ‘Mother of the Blues’” by Giovanni Russonello, NYTimes, June 2019.
- “How Bessie Smith Influenced A Century Of Popular Music” by Maureen Mahon, WAMU, August 2019. ︎
- “Overlooked No More: Robert Johnson, Bluesman Whose Life Was a Riddle” by Reggie Ugwu, NYTimes, September 2019.
- “Son House: The Lost King Of The Delta Blues” by Richard Havers, uDiscoverMusic, October 2019.
- “Big Bill Broonzy: The Unsung Hero Of The Blues Boom” by Richard Havers, uDiscoverMusic, June 2020.
“100 Years Ago, ‘Crazy Blues’ Sparked a Revolution for Black Women Fans” by Daphne A. Brooks, The New York Times, August 2020
FILM & SERIES
- Scott Joplin, dir. Jeremy Kagan, 1977. 1h 36m. ︎
Give My Poor Heart Ease, dir. William R. Ferris, 1975. 21m.
- The Search for Robert Johnson, dir. Chris Hunt, 1991. 1h 12m.
- Blues Story, dir. Jay Levey, 2003. 1h 30m.
- Feel Like Going Home, dir. Martin Scorsese, 2003. 1h 50m.
- The Soul of a Man, dir. Wim Wenders, 2003. 1h 43m.
- The Road to Memphis, dir. Richard Pearce, 2003. 1h 59m.
- Warming by the Devil's Fire, dir. Charles Burnett, 2003. 1h 46m.
- Godfathers and Sons, dir. Marc Levin, 2003. 2h 13m.
- Red, White And Blues, dir. Mike Figgis, 2003. 1h 33m.
- “Gladys Bentley: Gender-Bending Performer and Musician” by PBS American Masters, June 2020. 12 minutes. ︎