Posts Tagged ‘Son House’

He was a major influence and mentor to the then teenage Robert Johnson; who later sold his soul for the ability to play guitar like the devil himself.  One night in a juke joint in 1928 a drunk went on a shooting spree, shooting the blues-man in the leg.  Firing back in self-defense, Son killed the man.  But the judge didn’t see it that way, and the guitarist received a 15 year sentence at Parchman Farm.  Son House’s innovative playing style and singing featured strong, repetitive rhythms that owed more than a nod to field hollers and the chain gangs of Parchman Farm. He played in barrelhouses and juke joints, playing loud to be heard over the noise there.


Son House – (1902-1988) One of the towering Delta Blues singers who had an early and profound influence on Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Charley Patton, and later Bonnie Raitt, John Hammond and Alan Wilson of Canned Heat. He was playing in a juke joint in Mississippi in 1927 or 1928 when a disgruntled patron went on a shooting spree, wounding House in the leg, and House apparently retaliated by shooting him dead for which House received a 15-year sentence at Parchman Farm, the notorious Mississippi State Penitentiary where he served only two years. His first recordings were made in 1930 for Paramount Records in Wisconsin. A decade later Folklorist Alan Lomax, who made field recordings of Muddy Waters at Stovall’s Farm plantation in Mississippi in 1941 for the Library of Congress, also recorded Son House the same year. Afterward, House faded into obscurity for decades, working as a railroad porter in New York, where he had moved. House got swept up in the Blues revival in the 1960s after Blues enthusiast Dick Waterman tracked him down in Rochester New York. His early recordings were rediscovered and he toured extensively in America and Europe, performing at the Newport Folk Festival in 1964. House continued to tour, returning to Europe in 1970, performing at the Montreux Jazz Festival. House’s health declined in later years, and he passed away from cancer in 1988. Son House lived to a remarkable old age of 86. He recorded several albums in the 1960s after his comeback among which were “Blues From the Mississippi Delta,” for Folkways Records in 1964 and “The Legendary Son House: Father of Folk Blues,” for Columbia in 1965. Son House was a Blues pioneer whose contributions to the art form live on in his classic recordings

Born just outside Clarksdale, MS, Son House was a powerful blues singer who had taught himself to play guitar.