Florida Blues

Florida Blues

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This month we want to highlight one of this country’s defining musical institutions: The Blues.

Transcript of the Introduction

Welcome back to the Florida Folklife Collection Podcast Series from the State Library and Archives of Florida. This month we want to highlight one of this country’s defining musical institutions: The Blues. Each of our neighboring southern states has placed a unique brand on the music’s form and sound—including Florida. This month’s podcast aims to prove it by joining forces with Florida’s Got the Blues, a new exhibit presented by the Museum of Florida History.

“Florida’s Got the Blues,” open through March 1st 2009, features rare 78rpm recordings by “The King of Ragtime Blues Guitar,” Jacksonville’s own Blind Blake.  There are historically significant instruments including a National steel-bodied guitar owned by Tampa Red, the undisputed king-pin of Lester Melrose’s Chicago-based Bluebird Record label. Stage attire owned by the likes of Bo Diddley of Gainesville, “Diamond Teeth” Mary McLain of Tampa, and Ray Charles of Greenville, Florida, as well as stunning photographs, ephemera, artifacts, interactive exhibits and moving images give museum patrons a deeper understanding of the history of Blues music—and Florida’s contribution in shaping the genre.

This podcast expands on some of the exhibit’s lesser known Florida blues musicians by presenting recordings captured live from the Florida Folk Festival stage alongside more intimate performances documented by Florida folklorists working in the field.  Everything from “Diamond Teeth” Mary and Willie Green’s bawdy blues, to Roy Bookbinder’s finger-style rags, Johnny Brown’s slide, Emmett Murray’s electric guitar, and Moses Williams’ diddley bow.  Performers Ida Goodson, Ella Mae Wilson and Richard Williams, Charles Atkins, and Robert Dennis—it is all here. 

For more information on Florida’s Got the Blues and museum hours of operation, contact the Museum of Florida History at 850-245-6400. To conduct research on, or obtain copies of recordings from, the Florida Folklife Collection, contact the State Archives of Florida by using the [contact us link] or calling 850-245-6700. In the meantime it’s our genuine pleasure to give you a real case of the blues! Thanks for listening.