Culture

Ranking the 5 Most Excellent Bluesmen

As these things go, this is of course a superficial and subjective list. Still, you have to begin somewhere. So, here are 5 most excellent Bluesmen, in a small runoff. I am ranking them by my own personal preference, but please comment as to what your own might be. As always, suggestions for future articles are welcome.

Beginning to perform during the late 1940s, “’fess,” as he was known, influenced numerous later Rock and Roll acts. Largely unknown to most, he could well have become a national musical star, had it not been for his reluctance to leave his native New Orleans. I personally rate him at the top, for his style and sound. 

1. Professor Longhair – “Big Chief”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhYyFnFPhBg

Rather than being influenced by American Delta Blues, Bonamassa found the English Blues sound (think Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Rory Gallagher) to be far more interesting.

2. Joe Bonamassa – “Blues Deluxe”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbUCUjsZm9E

I’d featured him before, but he deserves mention again.  A true monster of Blues guitar, Vaughan racked up an impressive list of hits in a mere 7 years, before his untimely death. What he might’ve accomplished had that not happened is awesome to consider.

3. Stevie Ray Vaughan – “Life Without You”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAv5ZuuSxSI

A Sharecropper’s stepson from Mississippi, Sonny (born Alex Miller) was a charismatic songwriter and master of the blues harmonica. After first playing with a few blues notables, he was hired in 1941 to play for the King Biscuit Time radio show – we all remember that in its later form as the King Biscuit Flour Hour.

4. Sonny Boy Williamson – “Bye Bye Bird”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-PhBryFuIM

As he says, he’s gonna show us how the blues should be played. And does, that “Old Pharaoh.”

5. Howlin’ Wolf – “Back Door Man”