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  • Writer's pictureJeff Powers

Death Letter Blues

Updated: Mar 20

"Death Letter Blues", is Son Houses reworking of his own song My Black Mama part 2 that he recorded in 1930 . He said after Robert Johnson and Willie Brown died among other delta blues musicians died around the same time in the 30's he, a preacher torn between the devil's music and church music, gave up playing guitar because he was scared. He was later discovered in Rochester New York in the 1960's and John Hammond produced a recording (is there any important musician that was not discovered by Hammond?) that included "Death Letter Blues" which is really "My Black Mama part 2" but now with more emotion and with what I consider an even better voice. And though his guitar playing was diminished by 16 years of not playing and a little bit of the devil's brew the song is one of the most powerful delta blues ever recorded. Here I'm demonstrating the guitar part which I'll show how to play in the next post.

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