Son House.

Eddie James (Son) House Jr. was born in 1902 in a little town called Riverton, Mississippi, two miles from the famed blues capitol of Clarksdale, Mississippi.

1n 1926 House started playing guitar under the tutelage of a local musician named James McCoy. He developed quickly as a guitarist and within twelve months he had fallen in with Delta musician Rube Lacy and began emulating his slide guitar style. House shot and killed a man in 1928 and he was in return, sentenced to work on Parchment Farm, but was released within two years after a judged re-examined the case. The judge advised him to leave the Clarksdale vicinity and so he relocated to Lula, where he met legendary bluesman Charley Patton.

Patton befriended House and in 1930, Patton brought him, pianist Louise Johnson and guitarist Willie Brown to Wisconsin for a recording session with Paramount Records. House continued playing with Willie Brown through the 1930’s and developed a friendship with Robert Johnson after moving to Robinsville, Mississippi.

House, along with Leroy Williams, Fiddlin’ Joe Martin and Willie Brown, were recorded by the now legendary folklorist Alan Lomax in 1941 for the Library of Congress. Lomax returned the next year to record House in Robinsville, but House did not make another commercial record until the mid-1960’s, when he was “re-discovered” by by Nick Perls, Dick Waterman and Phil Spero.

He subsequently toured extensively in the US and Europe, including performing at the Newport Folk Festival, the New York Folk Festival, and touring Europe with the the Montreux Festival and the American Folk Festival, the latter including such artists as Skip James and Bukka White.

Ill health plagued his later years and in 1974 he retired for the last time, living in Detroit, Michigan until his death from cancer of the larynx in 1989.

Son House was an amazing guitar player who mastered the art of slide guitar and sang with a passion that can not be anything less than sincere, often reminiscent of the hollers of the chain gangs. House is nothing less than a Delta Blues legend, and if you listen to Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, and many others, you can hear Son’s influence come through.

County Farm Blues, from Deep River of Song: Mississippi – The Blues Lineage

The Jinx Blues (No. 2), from Deep River of Song: Mississippi – The Blues Lineage

Low Down Dirty Dog Blues, from Deep River of Song: Mississippi – The Blues Lineage

Two Son House videos below.

John the Revelator.

Forever My Mind.


12 Responses to Son House.

  1. Auto says:

    Good stuff. Iโ€™m really excited about this blog. Really great. Looking forward to more.

  2. deejay says:

    oh, now I remember Son House. finally got to listen to these today. Thanks Ash. I have him on one of those compilation CDs from Rhino – Mississippi Delta Blues – hey, it may be Rhino, but it’s a great cd for car trips. Son House “Preachin’ the Blues” – ahhhhh!! and these are great. everytime I go back to the basics, I remember why it’s the basics. why it all started here there. so glad you’re sharing the old and the new here, Ash.

  3. A. says:

    Hi Maggie-

    Thanks for the feedback on the site. I am indeed a blues and soul girl and I don’t think that will ever change. There’s something about it that gets in your bones and settles there and won’t leave. It becomes a part of you.

    I’ve never heard the story of how the Detroit Blues Society collected money to give him a proper headstone. Thanks for enlightening me. What a wonderful and respectful thing for them to do.

    I have seen ‘You See Me Laughin’. It’s one of my favorite films ever. I love the character that shines though and the love and light, although all of them have had hard lives.

    Thanks for the comment. Keep comin’ ’round. ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe even comment again once in a while. Nice hearing from you.

  4. Maggie says:

    Hi Ash- I’m a lurker mostly but this most recent post has compelled me to comment and compliment your excellent taste in music. I came over here months ago for Taylor, but honestly stayed for the blues and soul. I am a huge blues and soul fan (in fact my honeymoon last year was a road trip from Detroit down to Memphis and Clarksdale, MS – a sort of blues and soul field trip) and you really impress me with the artists you choose to feature- from Junior Kimbrough, to the Black Keys, to Sonny Boy Williamson, to Muddy, etc. And this post about Son House was great- he’s buried about 1/2 a mile from my house here on the west side of Detroit and i went to leave some guitar picks from the Delta Blues Museum and some cotton on his grave recently. Do you know the story of how the Detroit Blue Society collected money to give him a proper headstone? The cemetery is really old and ghetto- and I don’t think he had much of one before. Anyway, it was nice to see you feature him.
    Also- have you seen the documentary from Fat Possum called ‘You See Me Laughin’ ? It’s excellent! I gave it to Taylor at the grand rapids concert a couple nights ago- if you haven’t seen it, you should.
    Anyway, keep it up =)

  5. A. says:

    Omp- Yep. I did post it at one point or another during that debate. but! I think another person posted it as well, soon after or at the same time I did.

    And, you are MORE than welcome. I’m glad you enjoy it and I hope to keep sharing and talking about music on here as long as I can.

  6. Phile says:

    Yay! Muppets! I look forward to reading it. Any chance you can include the Alice Cooper episode in that? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    One of my favorite childhood memories is my family exchanging Christmas gifts with another family down the block. We got each other the same gift – the John Denver/Muppets Christmas album.

    …oh. I’m sorry, Mr. House. I’ll look up Louise Johnson now! And I’ve got some more listening to do!

  7. Omphalos says:

    Ash, was it you who posted the NaS link during the Snoop brouhaha?

    And let me just say thanks again for all these great songs and videos. This is my favorite part of the site: your music selections and observations. Great stuff. Really appreciate it.

  8. A. says:


    I believe that the Muppet Show is definitely under rated as far as what it has done for music.

    I’m actually working on a post about it, with videos from many episodes including episodes with such guests as Johnny Cash and Dizzy Gillespie.

  9. A. says:

    deejay- the blog will always be here. even if/when the board goes down, the blog is staying. It’s the core and I love it too much to let it sit unused.
    I’m glad you enjoy it.

  10. Phile says:

    Meanwhile, I got the new broadband hooked up last night to go with the new computer, so I’ve been a complete bandwidth hog – sorry about that, but I had to play catch up!

    Thank you for this – I appreciate the schoolin’ and communicatin’ more than anything else. A name intrigued me in your write up – Louise Johnson. Hmmmm… I think I’m going to have to do a little research…

    But for now, I think I’m going to click on that little arrow up above again, then pay Billie another visit and laugh about the Muppets’ influence on mmj…

  11. deejay says:

    Ash, my home pc is slowly dying and I can’t watch these at work, but wanted to say thanks for keeping up the blog even while the board has been so crazy lately! This part means so much to me. As soon as I get my laptop up and running, I’ll be catching up with all the great music you’re posting. Thanks!!

  12. Omphalos says:

    Thanks for the wealth of information and the great songs, Ash. What a life story. Clearly Snoop has nothing on Son in terms of knowing hard times and living the outlaw life. It’s his guitarwork that grabs me, but also that brooklike voice, weaving deeply in and out on “The Jinx Blues.” It bubbles and roils, sweeping us right along with it.

    It was you who posted the NaS link ages ago, wasn’t it, while the Snoop controversy was brewing?

    The lineage of blues to rap still intrigues me. There’s such a strong sense of witness to hardship in these Son House songs and videos. And just listen to the silence of that crowd! It’s almost eerie.

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