Elmore James Vinyl Records Lps For Sale

Check out these new and used Elmore James
vinyl records LPs for sale. Elmore James was born in Mississippi in 1918. He started making music when he was 12 years old using a one stringed instrument called a jitterbug. By the age of 14, Elmore was working as a musician on the weekends in different juke joints around town under the name Cleanhead. Sometimes he would play with traveling musicians coming through town such as Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson, and Sonny Boy Williamson. By the late 1930s, he had created his first band and was touring alongside Sonny Boy. Elmore James is often considered the most influential slide guitarist of postwar America, and he became known as King of the Slide Guitar. His most iconic songs is a reworking of the Robert Johnson song called I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom, and he ended up recording different variations of this song. Elmore stayed busy in the 1950s and early 1960s playing all around Chicago. He passed away from a heart attack in 1963, and his wake was attended by over 400 blues musicians before his body was sent back to Mississippi for burial. We recommend starting your Elmore James vinyl collection with the excellent History of Elmore James double album collection of various songs.. Our inventory is constantly changing, so check back often, or browse our list of vinyl from blues musicians.

History Elmore James Vinyl Lp

Elmore James: The King of Slide Guitar Blues

Elmore James, born Elmore Brooks on January 27, 1918, in Richland, Mississippi, was a blues icon and a master of the slide guitar. He left an indelible mark on the blues landscape with his electrifying guitar style and passionate vocals. With a career spanning several decades, Elmore James’ contributions to the world of blues music continue to resonate with audiences and inspire generations of musicians.

Early Life and Musical Beginnings

Elmore James’ early life was marked by the rich musical traditions of the Mississippi Delta. He was exposed to the sounds of the blues at a young age and began playing the harmonica. However, it was his uncle, renowned blues guitarist Joe Willie Wilkins, who introduced him to the slide guitar, igniting his passion for the instrument.

Migration to Chicago and Musical Career

In the late 1930s, Elmore James migrated to Chicago, a city that would become a mecca for blues musicians. There, he began performing in local clubs and juke joints, perfecting his slide guitar technique. His early influences included Robert Johnson, Tampa Red, and Kokomo Arnold, all of whom left a significant impact on his musical style.

Innovative Slide Guitar Style

Elmore James’ signature style was built around the slide guitar, a technique that involved using a glass or metal slide to glide along the strings. This created a distinctive, searing tone and a vocal-like quality to his guitar playing. His innovative approach to the instrument made him a pioneer of slide guitar blues, earning him the title “King of Slide Guitar.”

Recording Career and Signature Songs

Elmore James began his recording career in the early 1950s, and his first recordings included classics like “Dust My Broom” and “I Believe.” “Dust My Broom” remains one of his most celebrated and enduring songs, known for its infectious slide guitar riffs and passionate vocals. His recordings often showcased his high-energy guitar work and emotive singing.

Influence on the Blues Genre

Elmore James’ impact on the blues genre was profound. He played a pivotal role in shaping the Chicago blues scene, and his electrifying slide guitar style became a hallmark of the genre. His influence extended beyond his own recordings, inspiring a new generation of blues and rock musicians. Artists like Jimi Hendrix, Duane Allman, and Stevie Ray Vaughan drew inspiration from James’ slide guitar mastery.

Live Performances and Stage Presence

Elmore James’ live performances were legendary. His charismatic stage presence, coupled with his searing guitar work and impassioned vocals, left audiences in awe. He had the ability to connect with listeners on a deep emotional level, making each live show an unforgettable experience.

Personal Struggles and Resilience

Like many blues musicians of his era, Elmore James faced personal challenges, including health issues. Despite these difficulties, he continued to perform and record, displaying remarkable resilience and an unwavering commitment to his music.

Late Career and Passing

Elmore James’ career extended into the late 1950s and early 1960s. He continued to tour and record, earning accolades and recognition for his contributions to music. Tragically, he passed away on May 24, 1963, at the age of 45, leaving behind a remarkable legacy in the world of blues.

Legacy and Enduring Impact

Elmore James’ legacy is that of a blues icon whose electrifying slide guitar style and passionate vocals continue to inspire and captivate audiences. His influence on the blues genre and slide guitar playing remains foundational. His music, characterized by its raw emotional power and innovative guitar work, serves as a timeless testament to the enduring power of the blues.


Elmore James’ life and career embody the essence of the blues, from its Delta origins to its electrifying Chicago form. His mastery of the slide guitar, distinctive vocals, and profound influence on the blues genre continue to inspire new generations of musicians. As the “King of Slide Guitar,” Elmore James’ contributions to the blues are a reminder of the genre’s enduring power to evoke emotion, share stories, and connect people through the universal language of music. His music, like the blues itself, remains a testament to the depth and complexity of the human experience.

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