Guitar World's 10 Essential Blues Guitar Albums

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This list of Guitar World's 10 essential blues albums is part of a much larger feature — Guitar World's 100 Essential Guitar Albums — all of which you'll be seeing in the weeks ahead!

For the time being, we'll start you off with these 10 masterpieces from guys named King, Vaughan, Hooker and, well, Guy!

Robert Johnson - King of the Delta Blues Singers (1998) While the origins of the blues stretch back into the forgotten mists of time, our awareness of the music coincides with the advent of sound recording in the early part of the 20th century. Among the blues voices that emerge from those scratchy 78rpm discs, one stands out strong - a plaintive, haunted voice accompanied by agile, evocative guitar patterns. Robert Johnson is the archetypal blues man of the Mississippi Delta. His music profoundly influenced everyone from Son House to Muddy Waters to Eric Clapton to the Rolling Stones. The 12-bar poetry of his lyrics helped codify the subject matter of the blues: whiskey and women, Satan and God, the pleasures of life that somehow also turn out to be its pains. There's a legend that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Devil in return for his musical prowess. But all myths that equate the blues with demonic forces really stem from a sense of awe at this ancient, earthy rhythm that can grant us the power to meet bad times and good with poise and life-affirming vigor.