Charley Patton the Founder of the Delta Blues- The Legend Lives On
By Bruce Lamb
Though he used to write his name as Charlie Patton, yet popularly called Charley, is considered as the father and proponent of the American Delta Blues genre of music. This style is one of the oldest renditions of blues style of music and hence it made Charley Patton as one of the oldest known figures of American Popular Music. Said to be been born in the year 1887 and have died in 1934, Charlie Patton is still considered one of the most influential figures of American music.
Charley and the Early Years of Delta Blues: The Origin of the Genre
Charlie Patton was born in Hinds County, Mississippi and had passed most of his life in the Mississippi Delta. He did most of his work on Delta Blues style from here and for that reason this style was also known as the Mississippi Delta Blues style of music. Most of that area was covered with extremely fertile land, yet poverty was rampant. The socio-economic condition became the soul of this genre. The cigar box guitar, guitar and harmonica formed the base for this genre’s music.
The Unique style that separated it from other country blues: The Differentiating Factor
Although there was not much of a subsequent rhythmic difference between Charlie Patton’s style and other country blues to have originated at the same time. Most of the areas had the same cultural background, yet Mississippi Delta Blues stood out because of its harmonic structure and theme that talked exhaustively about travelling musicians’ life, sexuality and life the delta. Women also had a part in this style, but only a few made names for themselves.
The Accolades for Charlie Patton and Delta Blues Style: Accolades even after his Death
In 2001, Revenant records released a 5-CDs feature called Screamin’ and Hollerin’ Blues-
The Worlds of Charley Patton. This included several released and unreleased works of Charlie Patton and his partners. This became an instant hit amongst the discerned music population and such was the magic of the genius after so many years, this album became a proud winner of not 1, but 3 Grammy Awards in the year 2003.
Not just a musician, a proper showman in himself, Charlie Patton was a charismatic figure who changed the course of American Popular Music. He was so down to earth that he gave blues Guitar lessons to the local enthusiasts, and at the same time became a larger than life figure with his raw and energetic voice. Stalwart like Bob Dylan to famed musicologist Robert Palmer have praised the contribution of the man popularly called Charley Patton and his legend lives on forever.
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