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Rulers of the Blues
Rulers of the Blues
Rulers of the Blues

Rulers of the Blues

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12" Wooden Ruler made in U.S.A. of American-grown basswood.

The Blues is an African-American musical genre that originated in the Southern United States around the 1870’s. This style of music originated on plantations and draws upon spirituals, work songs, field calls, shouts and chants. Many of its elements, such as call-and-response and a trance-like rhythm can be traced back to African musical traditions, and its lyrics often express feelings of injustice or a longing for a better life.

William Christopher Handy did not create the blues genre, but he was the first to publish his music, which helped to take the blues from a regional music style to a new level of popularity, earning Handy the moniker Father of the Blues. Robert Leroy Johnson recorded 29 songs in 1936 and 1937, and died a year later at age 27 under uncertain circumstances. Three different cemeteries claim to be his final resting place. A reissue of his recordings in 1961 hugely influenced later bluesmen, including Eric Clapton.

There are many women on the ruler, all of them singers, although Beulah Belle “Sippie” Wallace also wrote many of the songs she recorded. Her best known tune, Women Be Wise, was later covered by Bonnie Raitt.

On the ruler, we list each musician's name and one of their best known songs. The order of the list is by the year in which that song was published.

The “head” image is of Riley B. “B.B.” King, posing with his guitar, a Gibson semi-hollow body ES-355 named Lucille. 

If you like this ruler, you might also be interested in Rulers of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Rulers of Music, Rulers of Jazz, Rulers of Country Music, or Great Women Rulers of Music.