Personalities | Son House | Thirties | Jazz & Blues

(Guitar, vocals, 1902–88)

The son of a musician, Eddie James House Jr. was born in Riverton, Mississippi. House was preaching sermons by his mid-teens and travelled widely in the 1920s. He did not learn guitar until the age of 25, but soon thereafter was torn between his faith and his love of the blues. After killing a man in a Lyon juke joint and serving two years in jail, House encountered Charley Patton, whose connections at Paramount Records landed him a recording session in 1930.

The intensity and passion of House on songs such as the two-part ‘Preachin’ The Blues’ have rarely been approached in the blues field. However, the records sold poorly and House worked functions in the Delta, often in the company of Willie Brown, for much of the 1930s. He recorded for the Library of Congress in 1941–42, before leaving music in 1943 and moving to Rochester, New York. Rediscovered in 1964, he recorded for a number of labels and toured widely for the rest of the decade.

Styles & Forms | Thirties | Jazz & Blues
Personalities | Spike Hughes | Thirties | Jazz & Blues

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel


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