Eddie Son House - Bottleneck Blues Legend

by candy47

Father of the Delta blues and one of the greatest bottleneck blues guitarists, Eddie Son House is still an inspiration and influential to musicians today.

For about five years of my life I was in a relationship with a blues guitarist. I had heard of many of the artists whose music he played: Robert Johnson, Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters, Charley Patton and lots more. But I never heard of Son House before this relationship. I came to learn the difference between House and all the others in sound and style. His Delta blues style was powerful and hard-driving, and I might add, not too easy to master. Eddie Son House was by far the artist I requested most often for my friend to play.

Above photo credit Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

The Early Years

Eddie Son House was born on a plantation on the Mississippi River Delta in March of 1902, give or take a year or two. At the age of fifteen he started preaching the gospel, then a few years later became the pastor of a Baptist church in Lyon, Mississippi. Although he was committed to the church and his religion, he had no interest in making the church his career. To earn money he worked at a steel plant, a horse farm and on the railroad, all the while preaching and continuing his pastoral duties. He didn't even own a guitar during these years.

Death Letter Blues performed by Son House. This tune is my favorite for the strength and pain in the lyrics and music.

Bad Times and Good Times

Between preaching and working, there was drinking and up-to-no-good behavior for House. As a result of the latter, he shot and killed a man in a drunken bar fight. Claiming self-defense House was sentenced to two years in the penitentiary.

On the good side, House went to a performance of local guitar bluesman Willie Wilson. House was mesmerized by the man's talent and also intrigued by the small broken glass bottleneck on Wilson's finger. House decided at that moment he wanted to play guitar just like Willie Wilson, so he bought an old beat up guitar, took a few lessons from Wilson, the rest he picked up on his own.

It wasn't long before House was earning a living as a paid musician and recording artist for Paramount Records and Columbia Records.

CD - MP3 - Stream it with Prime

This is the music that inspired Robert Johnson!
Father Of The Delta Blues: The Complete 1965 Sessions
$15.98  $4.89

Compilation of Son House, Charlie Patton and Robert Johnson licks performed by Bluescandy40.

You'll need these to play Bottleneck Blues

Dunlop Brass Slide, Heavy Wall Thickness

Chosen for years for its bright resonant tone and comfortable weight.

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BigHeart Real Bottleneck Glass Guitar Slide

Nothing beats glass for high end overtones and a very clean sound.

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Dunlop Tempered Glass Slide, Medium Wall Thickness

Go with Dunlop Pyrex Glass Slides for a warmer, thicker tone

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Library of Congress Recordings

Alan Lomax recorded House in 1941 and 1942 for the Library of Congress. Performing with House on these recordings are Willie Brown on guitar and vocals, Fiddlin Jo Martin on mandolin and Leroy Williams playing harmonica.

This guitar was a favorite of Son House, Tampa Red, Bukka White and a host of other blues legends

Regal RC-4 Metal Body Duolian Guitar - Nickel-Plated Brass

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Updated: 03/29/2017, candy47
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candy47 on 05/07/2017

Death Letter is my favorite. My friend works for the post office as a mail carrier. Playing guitar is a hobby.

DerdriuMarriner on 05/02/2017

candy47, Thank you for the educational fun and product line! What songs are your favorites, and which ones would you say that nobody else could perform the way he does? Did you blues guitarist friend remain in music or turn to other endeavors (since music of all genres is so competitive)?

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