Memphis musicians, during the early 1900s, brought music to the city that was unlike anything that the area or the nation had ever heard before. The blues is the name that was given to this music from Memphis musicians, and it still today gives a unique musical face to the city. Some of the great Memphis musicians include Big Mama Thornton, Rosco Gordon, Sleepy John Estes, B.B. King, and later, of course, Mr. Elvis Presley. The talents of these Memphis musicians greatly shaped the city of music, and the sound that people heard in the streets and on the radio would never be the same once the Memphis musicians made their footprints.
W.C. Handy was one of the greatest Memphis musicians, and at one time had written an autobiography. Describing the blues of the Memphis musicians as suggested by the snatches, phrases, cries, and idioms.. Handy showed the world that the blues is impossible to define, and only by ideas and suggestions can it all be understood. It wasnt long before the phrase music from Memphis was associated automatically with the blues.
W.C. Handy at one time had even been selected out of many Memphis musicians to write a campaign song for one of the mayoral candidates in the city. The song that was the result was an instant success and a hit, and was deeply influenced by and helped transform the Memphis musicians music for all time.
Before World War II, most of the music that Memphis musicians produces was played on homemade instruments that rose from common household items such as washboards, gourds, and pipes. There were guitars, banjos, fiddles, and mandolins, but it was the homemade sounds from the Memphis musicians that made the music unmistakable. Jug bands were a large part of the influence of Memphis musicians as well. The Memphis Jug Band and Gus Cannons Jug Stompers were two groups of Memphis musicians that added the musical zing to Beale Street. Jews harps and kazoos were also some fun little instruments that were frequently used for the sound.
After World War II, Memphis musicians took on a much different sound. Memphis musicians like B.B. King came in with their electric instruments and made the blues sound a little less homemade. This new music from Memphis was highly sought after by the producers at Sun Records, and many of the artists began to cut albums with the company. Because of the distribution opportunities that a deal with Sun Records came with, people all over the country were able to hear music from Memphis.
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