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Chicago and Detroit: Style of Blues
History and Highlights
Style of Blues
Songs and Musicians
Chicago and Detroit

Style of Blues
The electric blues styles common to Chicago and Detroit evolved from Delta roots by taking the country blues sound, adding more musicians, and amplifying it all for a city audience. Drums, bass, amplified harmonica, piano, and sometimes horn sections were added to the guitar and piano of earlier blues to create the now-standard blues band format. The bands would often feature a lead electric guitar and lyrics were more confident and sexually charged than in earlier styles of the blues.

Listen for the amplified instruments and urban sexuality in Muddy Waters's "Mannish Boy," and pay attention to Big Bill Broonzy's guitar technique and social commentary in "When Will I Get to be Called a Man" below:

Audio Sample
Title: "Mannish Boy"
Performed by: Muddy Waters
Written by: McKinley Morganfield, Ellas McDaniel and Melvin London (Publisher: Arc Music Corporation)
Source: His Best, 1947-1955 (MCA/Chess, 9370)
Recorded: 1955
Available to teachers on: The Blues Teacher's Guide CD

Audio Sample
Title: "When Will I Get To Be Called A Man"
Written and performed by: Big Bill Broonzy (Public Domain)
Source: Trouble in Mind (Smithsonian Folkways, 40131)
Recorded: 1957
Available to teachers on: The Blues Teacher's Guide CD