About Blues Music: Elmore James

About Blues Music: Elmore James (Jan. 27, 1918 – May 24, 1963)

The King of the Slide Guitar, Elmore James began strumming at the age of 12, using a ‘diddley bow’ strung onto a shack wall. Influenced by Robert Johnson and Tampa Red, James worked in Canton, Mississippi at his adopted brother’s electrical shop where he devised a his unique sound using unusual pickups placement. His “Dust My Broom” song’s opening slide guitar riff is one of the best known blues sounds. James died of a heart attack.


What is blues music about according to Elmore James: Elmore James sang with emotion and depth, reinforced by his guitar playing which was as rough, violent and as expressive as his voice. His sound was unmistakably “down and out” blues, filled with climax and tension.


How to gear up like Elmore James: If you want to play like Elmore James, use a hollow body traditional acoustic guitar or a 5140 Hawaiian Standard lap steel guitar.


Essential Blues music tracks from Elmore James: “Dust my Broom”, “Shake Your Moneymaker,” “Bleeding Heart,” “The Sky is Crying,” “One Way Out.”


Famous for playing with: Sonny Boy Williamson, Willie Love, Homesick James, Boyd Atkins, Sam Cassell


Well known covers: “Bleeding Heart” by Jimi Hendrix,


Listen to clips: “Shake Your Money Maker” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3KYVIHQMTw

“Dust My Broom” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkeoJggtSu0

“It Hurts Me Too” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAa-lCowVMY

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