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Nine O'Clock Blues: The Louisiana Blues

Blind Pig

The Louisiana blues style developed rather late. It was not until after World War 2 that the state really began to make a notable mark on the blues world.

This is surprising when you think about how much influence Mississippi, right next door, had from the earliest days of there being a style one could even begin to call blues. I rather think that there must have been a fledgling blues world in Louisiana much earlier, but the very strong influence of the many jazz styles of New Orleans tended to obscure and drown out anything else happening musically in the region.


Musicologists generally divide Louisiana blues into two sub-styles, the jazz-influenced New Orleans style, based close in and around the city, and the slower and more primitive swamp blues, with its tinges of zydeco and Cajun music. The center for swamp blues is Baton Rouge. Examples of New Orleans blues would include Professor Longhair, Earl King, Katie Webster and Guitar Slim, while swamp blues masters include Lightnin’ Slim, Slim Harpo, Chubby Carrier and Al Rapone.

Both styles faded from popularity in the later 1960s, though have had brief revivals since and surely, with help of people like me, will live on (If I dare be so presumptuous, and I do).

This week on The Nine O’clock Blues I plan to include a full set of Louisiana blues from a cross section of great artists including Professor Longhair, Al Rapone, Earl King and Katie Webster.


On a personal note, I would like to take a moment here to thank the people who expressed concern over my absence from this year’s Greeley Blues Jam and I want to assure you that my illness was not serious and I am better now. It was the first time I’ve missed the Blues Jam and I very much hope it will be the last.


I was especially sorry not to be there to announce the very exciting news that Big Bill Morganfield will be performing at this year’s Tuna Fish and Peanut Butter Concert on August 26th at 2pm at the Hammond Amphitheater in Loveland. For the 26th year KUNC will be joining together with you to benefit Weld Food Bank and Food Bank for Larimer County. This year’s event is sponsored by Associates in Family Medicine.

To celebrate the announcement of Big Bill’s appearance I will be including a piece by Morganfield on the week’s show. Be sure to join me Saturday... at 9.

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