Mississippi Blues Volume 4
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This album was originally released in 1987 as DLP 519 in the early years of Document Records vinyl productions, prior to the changeover to CD format. The opportunity to re-release it has allowed us to include take 1 of Robert Johnson’s Travelling Riverside Blues. This track having not been released as part of Johnson’s original output was issued for the first time on Document (‘Too Late, Too Late. Volume 11’ DOCD-5625).
The Great Migration of Black Americans from the rural southern to the urban areas of the North got under way in earnest during the 1890’s. Attracted by the promise of work and an independent life, thousands migrated in an attempt to leave the shadow of the poor and treacherous “Jim Crow Ruled “society behind them. The move gathered pace as word of opportunities for work and higher living standards reverberated up and down the highways and railroads connecting the South to the North. Pullman porters on the Illinois Central Railroad distributed the Chicago Defender (a black newspaper) on their trips south, encouraging the migration of fellow blacks to Chicago. In the cities of the North, vast black ghettos appeared. Chicago’s black population grew from 44,000 in 1910 to 110,000 in 1920. The trend of more blacks moving north rather than south would continue into the 1970s.
With the newcomers came their music. It was typical of most musicians to move north and settle there; initially taking up employment outside of their musical activities, however many took their chance and tried to survive by playing for bigger audiences eager to listen to the sounds that they had left behind. It was to become known as “down home” music.