On this day in 1902, the great blues musician Son House was born. He’s one of the legends of Mississippi Delta blues, which more or less make him a blues legend across time and space. According to him, he met a young Robert Johnson who would have been 18 or 19. He said that the young Johnson was an acceptable harmonica player but a terrible guitar player. I find this hard to believe, because just six years later Johnson recorded some of the very best delta blues ever. There is no doubt, however, that Son House was a huge influence on Johnson.
Son House was more of less “discovered” by another of my favorite bluesmen, Charley Patton. The two of them began performing together. And House continued playing throughout the region long past Patton’s death in 1934. But ten years later, he gave up performing and moved to New York. Like other blues greats, he was rediscovered in the 1960s and became an even bigger star than he had been.
There is a surprising lack of live action video of Son House performing. So you are just going to have to settle with “Death Letter Blues,” which is the very best form of settling.
Happy birthday Son House!