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
"race records" came into being.
a lot of companies started out, and many of them in Chicago.
important figure during that time (as well as later) was Big Bill Broonzy.
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.
about his first recording session:
never got a penny out of any of them records, as I know anything about.
was supposed to get a hundred and fifty dollars,
they told me I broke the microphone patting my foot and singing and they
had to take out of our money for that.
I told um it was all right, but I didnít record no more until í28
didnít get no royalties, because I didnít know nothing about trying to
demand for no money, see.
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
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
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.
the depression, the record companies created some kind of stars, they concentrated
on a handful of blues singers, and not the best ones.
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.