Eddie "Son" House (March 21, 1902 - October 19, 1988) Son house was a Delta Blues pioneer noted for his highly emotional style of singing and slide guitar playing. He is one of the most influential and important figure of the emergence of Delta Blues. He played with Charley Patton and howlin' Wolf and was a major influence on Robert johnson. His intricate guitar work, including incredibly talented slide guitar, was a unique blend of soulful and haunting. For the earlier part of his adult life, Son was a Baptist preacher. And as he learned guitar and, subsequently, Blues, he struggled with the dichotomy of playing the "devils' music" on Saturdays and preaching the Blbie on Sundays. As a result, many of his songs reflected his personal struggle to cope with his conflicting lifestyles. He continued to act as a preacher until 1929, where he shot and killed a man, allegedly out of self defense. Nonetheless, he was ordered to the notorious Mississippi penetentiary known as Parchman Farm, where he served less than a year before being released after a reexamination of his case. Son then went to work on Dockery Plantation outside of Clarksdale, MS, where he became friends with Charley Patton, one of the greatest Blues originators in history. He played with Patton and Willy Brown, and it was during this time that Robert Johnson used to take House's guitar while he was taking a break in between songs and would strum on it, much to the chagrin of everyone within hearing range. Son reportedly told johnson he couldn't play to save his life, but a year or two later Johnson shwed back up from nowhere, having sold his soul to play guitar, he amazed everyone that had heard him previously.
Alan Lomax found and recorded Son in 1941 and again in 1942. After that, like many Delta Blues men, House put the guitar away and simply disappeared for close to twenty years. During the 1960s folk revival, he was 'rediscovered', much to his surprise, by Folk / Blues enthusiasts and almost immedietly follwed into an illustrious career in both Europe and the U.S. He was hailed as the greatest Blues revival discovery, and enjoyed packed shows at Carnege Hall and the famed 1964 Newport Folk Festival. He cut several records and played several tours in the United States and Europe, where he was a vastly influential figure on the Brittish Blues (and subsequent rock) explosion. The effects of his European impression are still felt today, with the White Stripes citing Son as one of their biggest heros. In the mid 1970s, Son retired, having fallen into ill health. In 1980 he was inducted into the Blues hall of Fame, and in 1988 he passed away in Michigan. Son was one of, if not the most pivotal blues men to have ever lived, and his touch has been seen in everyone from the mysterious Robert Johnson to Muddy Waters to the band Canned Heat, and many others. Son house did more for Blues and the progresson of modern music than nearly any other Blues man to have lived.
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