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Chapter 15: Matchbox Blues

Folk & Delta blues

Far from the vaudeville stage, the men (and woman) featured in this chapter constructed what would become the spine of popular music for decades to come. Here is the blues at its most elemental, the stark truths of a person alone with a guitar, and the thoughts and feelings they can’t shake. The arrangements are simple, but the spectrum of emotional shading is wide - these songs can be delicate or wild, plaintive or carefree. Highlights include the gravelly voice of Blind Willie Johnson, and three tracks from the towering Leadbelly.
1. Charley Patton

A Spoonful Blues

2. Blind Lemon Jefferson

Matchbox Blues

3. Leadbelly

Gallis Pole

4. Blind Willie Johnson

Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed

5. Leadbelly

Goodnight Irene

6. Lil Green

Why Don’t You Do Right

7. Robert Johnson

Sweet Home Chicago

8. Skip James

Hard Time Killing Floor Blues

9. Leadbelly

Where Did You Sleep Last Night?

10. Mississippi John Hurt

Avalon Blues