Chicago Blues in the 20s and 30s was still black music played for a black audience, and the Blues records that were produced then, were produced for black listeners.
The "race records" came into being.
Quite a lot of companies started out, and many of them in Chicago.

An important figure during that time (as well as later) was Big Bill Broonzy. 
He was born in 1893 in Mississippi and came to Chicago in the beginning of 1920 by hoboing a freight train. Broonzy was already 27, when he came to Chicago which was rather old for a blues musician, and in 1926 he made his first record.

Broonzy about his first recording session:
I never got a penny out of any of them records, as I know anything about.
...
We was supposed to get a hundred and fifty dollars, 
... 
then they told me I broke the microphone patting my foot and singing and they had to take out of our money for that.
So I told um it was all right, but I didnít record no more until í28 
... 
I didnít get no royalties, because I didnít know nothing about trying to demand for no money, see. 
... 
Until I started running in this music business, I had never lived around no people that would kill they own brother, like, for a lousy dollar, or would rob they own family for a few nickels (Lomax, 444-445).
Big Bill Broonzy
Big Bill Broonzy

 
Big Bill Broonzy recorded about 160 songs and he made about 2000 Dollars out of it. He wrote even more numbers, but sometimes the recording director told him he was not good enough to do his own song and gave it to someone else, quite often to a female blues singer. Although female singers only had a minor role in the blues, at first the record companies concentrated on them. 

One outstanding female blues musician was Memphis Minnie who came to Chicago in 1930. She was a very good guitar player and had a very deep and strong voice and on blues contests she repeatedly beat Big Bill Broonzy. 

During the depression, the record companies created some kind of stars, they concentrated on a handful of blues singers, and not the best ones.

Chicago Blues had become highly commercialized and thus Alan Lomax ignored Chicago as he did a research for the Smithsonian Institute. The purpose was to record black folk music. Lomax went straight into the Delta
- and there he found Muddy Waters. 


 

Big Bill Broonzy & Memphis Minnie



 
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