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Charley Patton (1887-1934) is the closest recorded link to the source of the country folk blues in the Mississippi Delta. Well before his debut on record in 1929, Patton had established himself as a touring performer and was renowned for his ability as a flashy guitarist and consummate entertainer, anchoring all of his songs with a steady beat and his raucous, gravelly voice.

A mentor to many of the Delta bluesmen, Patton was influential as a teacher and a regional icon, living the Delta version of music celebrity in boozy excess and constant female company. He was the original King of the Delta Blues.

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