Charley Patton

Renowned as the "Father of the Delta Blues", Charley Patton became the first real star of the genre and helped to pave the way for Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf and legions of blues guitarists ever since. The Patton family moved to Dockwary Farms, Mississippi to work the cotton plantations in 1897, where seven-year-old Charley was taught to play guitar by farmhand Henry Sloan. His talent became known throughout the area, and he was recruited as a paid attraction by juke joints and dances across the county, before first recording for Paramount in 1929. A naturally charismatic performer, Patton would clown for the audience by playing his guitar behind his back and between his knees, but it was his gravelly voice and hypnotic, three-chord blues that proved the lasting influence. Pony Blues became his signature classic, alongside tracks such as High Water Everywhere, Pea Vine Blues and Down The Dirt Road Blues that captured the spirit of the Mississippi Delta and the tough struggles of the times. Patton died from a heart disorder in 1934 shortly after a final recording session in New York, but his legacy continues to span the generations from Son House to Jimmy Page to Jack White, and a box set of his work Screamin' And Hollerin' The Blues won three Grammy Awards in 2003.

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