Jimmy Reed

He was the most well-known blues singer in the 1950s. His simple, lazy shuffles combined with a laconic drawl made him one of the most influential. Jimmy Reed’s blues music is simply the most accessible, recognizable, easy-to-understand, and enjoyable sound in blues. The best-known of his songs, “Baby, what you want me to do,” “Bright Lights, Big City,”” “Honest I Do,” “You Don’t have to Go,” “Going to New York,” and “Big Boss Man,” have been so integral to the blues repertoire that it’s almost like they’ve always been there. His songs were easy to imitate and simple, so anyone could learn them. This made him, in the end, the most influential bluesman. His simple two-string boogie rhythm guitar patterns, which were all provided by Eddie Taylor, a boyhood friend and longtime musical partner, and country-ish harmonica solos (all performed in a neck rack attachment around his neck), were among the first exposures most white people had to the blues. His music was lazy, loping and insistent, built single after single on the same sturdy framework, and proved to be immensely successful and influential with both middle-aged blacks as well as young white audiences for over a dozen years. Jimmy Reed records reached the R

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