Big Bill Broonzy
Chicago Blues artist Big Bill Broonzy, died in 1958, unfortunately missing the 1960s blues renaissance, which surely would have proved very lucrative. Broonzy was one of a wave of artists who migrated to Chicago from the deep South in the '20s and bridged the gap between Country and Urban Blues. His warm vocal style could soar and shout, or be smooth and controlled. Broonzy was a well rounded guitar player equally adept at propulsive Country Blues and swinging single note lines for small jazz combos. He recorded prolifically, hundreds of sides -- as a sideman and as a solo artist. Ironically, as time went on, Broonzy played a less sophisticated, more rural style of blues, which reflected the tastes of white, folk music fans. He was one of the first blues artists to tour Europe and consequently had an enormous influence on the first wave of English Bluesmen like Alexis Korner -- and by proxy, Eric Clapton and The Rolling Stones.