Heard this on the radio today. About how the first bues recordings were made in texas
Found on wikipedia about the Oscar Schmidt Company, producer of the Stella guitars: «The instruments were primarily sold door-to-door by travelling musical salesmen from the early 1880s until 1965.» I couldn't find any further information about this marketing strategy which could explain how the guitar pushed out the banjo from black music. Maybe the Mexican hypothesis be just one among others. Thanks Titch for the link!
Titch hi, do you remember the link Turtlehead posted last october about the same question, about the origins of guitar blues?
There's an interesting comment to this by John Parrott on July 19, 2011 at 4:46 pm.
There's an excellent book written by David Evans «Big Road Blues: Tradition & Creativity in the Folk Blues», based on field work in the sixties and seventies in the Drew area of the Delta, which tells about the various versions of the «Big Road Blues» within the Drew tradition, represented by Charlie Patton, Kid Bailey, Robert Johnson, Tommy McClennan, Tommy Johnson, and others, but not only: it presents «Early Reports of Blues», starting with a testimony from South Texas in 1890 and a blues sung around the same year in Florence Alabama, printed later by W. C. Handy in his Anthology.
A first reference to blues as we know it dates from as early as 1903, when W. C. Handy «encountered the blues again at a railroad station in the Delta town of Tuttwiler, Mississippi. There a man pressed a knife on the strings of a guitar and sang the line "Goin' where the Southern cross the Dog", three times in succession. This line referred to the Southern (Illinois Central) and Yazoo Delta ("Yellow Dog") railroads» crossing at the station of Moorhead, Mississippi. We know these lines from Charley Patton's "Green River Blues" recorded 1929 («I'm going where the Southern cross the Dog»). So the Mexican hypothesis is somewhat questionable, as discussed in the comments to the writing Titch brought to our knowledge.
David Evans isn't only an excellent writer but also a real bluesman: hear his «Big Road Blues» in Tommy Jonson's version on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7V0PBv21_30