W. C. Handy was trained musician, composer, arranger who helped popularise blues. His compositions they say is a fusion between blues jazz and rag (St. Louis Blues). By 1920 became a very popular style and began to reach a white audience as well.  Performances were organised in theatres and clubs in Memphis and record companies began to record African- American Music.

Important blues musicians at the time were Bo Carter, Jimmie Rodgers, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Lonnie Johnson, Tampa Red and Blind Blake.

It was not until 1923 that Sylvester Weaver was the first to record the slide guitar style (guitar is fretted with a knife blade or the sawed-off neck) associated with a Delta (Mississippi) Blues. Musicians such as Blind Willie McTell and Blind Boy Fuller were part of Piedmont blues (uses ragtime-based finger picking guitar technique). What followed is a Memphis Blues that developed in 1020s and 1030s (known as using unusual instruments such as washboard, fiddle, kazoo or mandolin). Many musicians in late 30s and early 40s moved to Chicago creating a new urban blues culture. Urban blues was more elaborate as it had to adapt to a larger audience.

There were many female(urban blues) singers at the time to have a great influence: Mamie Smith, Gertrude ”Ma” Rainey, Bessie Smith, Victoria Spivey.  Bessie Smith was the first to record the blues in 1920.

Urban male performer were Tampa Red, Big Billy Bronzy and Leroy Carr.Carr. accompanied himself on a piano with Blackwell on the guitar. That continued into the 50s with Charles Brown and Nat "King" Cole.

~ Written by Alma Konjhodzic

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