Resources related to the big Blues Extravaganza
“The blues are the roots and the other musics are the fruits. It’s better keeping the roots alive, because it means better fruits from now on. The blues are the roots of all American music. As long as American music survives, so will the blues.” - Willie Dixon, Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame member and probably the most accomplished blues songwriter ever.

Day #1 plan:
  • video explaining what the Delta is
  • reading of PBS article and discussion with classroom teacher
  • experimentation with a Diddley Bow
  • video regarding essential ingredients and delta geography
  • introduction to "call and response" patterns and the sound of the blues using a slide on an acoustic guitar
  • working with sample blues song/Hound Dog - Big Momma Thornton Video Elvis Presley Video
  • review of songwriting tips with classroom teacher/students given time to work (Dare to be meaningful!)
  • students respond to writing prompts using Google doc for day 1 (to access it click here )

Materials for day #1:

Introductory voicethread video

Link to Blues Google Doc
Video related to Italian food and the Delta.

Visit the prezi used during my presentation by clicking here.

Plan for day #2: BB King and The Bucket

  • Did anyone look up information on the Diddley Bow and Bo Diddley?
  • excerpt from history of blues
  • demo of The Bucket/effects of string length/tension, testing of "slides" from day 1
  • video of inside of Strat and prediction making
  • the blues scale and rhythms that grew out of the blues
  • demonstration of bending and vibrato ala BB King
  • reading article followed by written response
  • time to work on songs

Materials for day #2:

Link to Day 2 Google doc

Video of slideshow related to blues traits in modern pop music.
Article for reading/writing activity:

If time:

Watch and listen to video of BB King and Buddy Guy.
See and hear BB King in his prime
Visit the official BB King website
Today we might use some of the things posted on Mr. Vincelette's blues glog

Plan for day #3:
Kids enter to this video:
Bonnie Raitt 2000 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Video
Today we will be looking at at some examples of how the blues spread and evolved.
Example #1 - See the Strange Path to Popularity voicethread:

Example #2: Popular white American performers who learned from established blues musicians and then used many of the sounds of the blues in their own music.

If time permits:
  • Groups spend time working on their songs,… Some shared with the class and performed with guitar
  • Chuck Berry article and samples of music

Materials for day #3: Spread and evolution of the blues
Station #1
Station #2
Station #4
Day #3 - Overview

Bonnie Raitt 2000 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Video


Materials for day #4: I'd Rather Go Blind (KoKo Taylor and Buddy Guy)
  • Presentation covering the development of distortion as a guitar effect
  • Time spent discussing and listening to three versions of I'd Rather Go Blind
  • Time to work on songs

Plan for day #5:
  • Time for dealing with any "loose ends" (catching up with journals, compiling lyrics, etc.)
  • Performance of student songs
  • Research station activity
  • Final journal entries and research discussion

Materials for day #5: Performance Day
Google doc for compiling blues lyrics

Information related to great female blues performers:

Vocabulary, Concepts, Performers discussed during this unit.
Term or phrase
Related info/links
Share cropper
System of farming common in the southern U.S. after the end of slavery, for further info see Wikipedia article

Great migration
The Great Migration was the movement of 2 million blacks out of the Southern United States to the Midwest, Northeast and West from 1910 to 1930

Mississippi Delta
The Delta is strongly associated with the origins of several genres of popular music, including the Delta blues, jazz, and rock and roll. The music came out of the struggles of lives in which poverty and hardship were ever present for mostly black sharecroppers and tenant farmers.

Def: the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another.

BB King
Riley B. King (born September 16, 1925), known by the stage name B.B. King, is an American blues guitarist and singer-songwriter acclaimed for his expressive singing and fluid, complex guitar playing.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at #3 on its list of the "100 greatest guitarists of all time". According to Edward M. Komara, King "introduced a sophisticated style of soloing based on fluid string bending and shimmering vibrato that would influence virtually every electric blues guitarist that followed." King has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Click here to listen to interview from NPR's Fresh Air
Interview with the founder of Alligator Records
Koko Taylor
Born Cora Walton in Shelby County, Tennessee, Taylor was the daughter of a sharecropper. She left Memphis for Chicago, Illinois in 1952 with her husband, truck driver Robert "Pops" Taylor. In the late 1950s she began singing in Chicago blues clubs.Taylor influenced musicians such as Bonnie Raitt, Shemekia Copeland, Janis Joplin, Shannon Curfman, and Susan Tedeschi. In the years prior to her death, she performed over 70 concerts a year and resided just south of Chicago in Country Club Hills, Illinois.

Click here for bio info on Koko Taylor
Click to hear Koko's version of, Bad Case of Loving You , and I'd Rather Go Blind
external image 220px-KokoTaylor2006.jpg
Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre that originated in African-American communities of primarily the Deep South of the United States at the end of the 19th century from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads.

Buddy Guy
George "Buddy" Guy (born July 30, 1936) is an American blues guitarist and singer. He is a critically acclaimed artist who has established himself as a pioneer of the Chicago blues sound, and has served as an influence to some of the most notable musicians of his generation. Guy is known, too, for his showmanship on stage, playing his guitar with drumsticks, or strolling into the audience while playing solos. He was ranked thirtieth in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".

Related link #1
Related link #2 (see video at bottom of page)
external image 220px-BuddyGuyCrossroads2007.jpg
The introduction of something new or different

Major scale
A combination of usually three or more musical tones sounded simultaneously.

A slight, rapid, and regular fluctuation in the pitch of a note produced on a stringed instrument by a shaking movement of the hand stopping the strings