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Charlie Patton 1891-1934. One of the most influential blues artists of all, Charley Patton’s spirit and essence extend into many other branches of music. Blues writer Robert Palmer claims Patton is “among the most important musicians twentieth-century America has produced.” Known for his all-powering gravelly vocals and rhythmic guitar playing Patton became the first great star and original king of the delta blues. Robert Johnson may generate more myth and mystery, but a fierce devotion stands by Patton’s monumental influence to this day.
Patton’s gruff, barking baritone vocals call to mind Tuvan throat singers. Listen closely and you’ll hear plenty more going on. There’s expressiveness in his vocals that catches the listener off guard with effects that are emotionally packed. His singing incorporates vaudeville-style vocal asides, the effect of two people talking to each other. The result imbues the performances with drama and comedy, conveying a sense of involvement with the material and with the audience.
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