This past Friday, I used Duke Ellington for the jazz series, but went on a tangent about Lonnie Johnson's presence on the recording. Apropos of nothing, here's some Lonnie Johnson, recorded in 1930.
Um, who invented rock 'n roll? Chuck Berry, maybe? Little Richard would obviously say, "Little Richard." Loudly. I beg to differ. The correct answer is Lonnie Johnson, in 1930. Listen, and remember that this was 1930. This was six years before Robert Johnson's first batch of Delta blues recordings.
Oh, who cares, right? That's Delta blues. Fine. This was 13 years before Muddy Waters moved to Chicago.
Fine, Chicago ain't Memphis. BB King, whose primary association was with Memphis, was five years old when this was recorded. Linguistic conventions tell me to spell that out rather than type the Arabic numeral. Oh, and people who moved to Memphis? Elvis wouldn't be born for another five years.
I could go on about how early this was in blues history, but seriously. 1930. Just listen, and pay attention to how musically prescient and influential Lonnie Johnson was.