Car Tunes: Terraplane Blues – Robert Johnson, Chauffeur Blues – Big Mama Thornton

Time for some deep blues. Though Son House has his advocates, many consider Robert Johnson to be if not the father of delta blues, the “king” of that genre. Almost every blues, rock and country guitarist uses some of Johnson’s technique and most certainly some of his licks. Terraplane Blues is about his Essex Terraplane. Essex, a brand of Hudson’s, was more formally endorsed by aviatrix Ameila Earhart. Another seminal blues guitarist was Mississippi Fred McDowell, whose career was renewed in the blues revival of the early 1960s when blues was considered more authentic than rock and roll so “folkies” gravitated to it. It was okay for Muddy to plug in and play electric, but not for Bob Dylan. Mississippi Fred’s fine fingerpicking backs up the great Big Mama Thornton on Chauffeur’s Blues, a distaff roots version of the sentiments expressed in the Beatles Baby You Can Drive My Car.

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