Charley Patton (c. 1890-1934): One of the most influential Mississippi blues musicians, Patton was a prolific artist who recorded more blues titles (42) within a single year than any blues artist of the decade. The oldest blues recording is of a song by Patton.
Son House (c. 1900-1988): Eddie James "Son" House had a powerful voice. He recorded for the Library of Congress before moving to New York in 1943.
"Ma" Rainey (1886-1939): Along with Bessie Smith, Gertrude "Ma" Rainey is regarded as the best of the 1920s classic blues singers. She is often called the Mother of the Blues because she inspired many other female blues singers.
Muddy Waters (1915-1982): McKinley Morganfield earned his nickname by playing in the muddy ditches near the plantation where he was raised by his grandmother. He began playing the harmonica at age 13 and had added the guitar by age 17. In 1943 he moved to Chicago to try his luck with a music career. His "Delta" style blues were unfashionable in the city, so he switched to an electric guitar.
Eric Bibb (1951- ): Bibb's vocals and exquisite finger-picking technique blend soul, folk, gospel and blues into a modern style all his own. He's considered one of the most important leaders of the acoustic blues revival in the United States.
Source: Blues in the Schools program materials