You’re listening to Big Maceo, a pioneer of Chicago Blues, and you’re on the Sound Beat.

Big Maceo, also known as Maceo Merriweather, recorded Worried Life Blues in 1941. It was released by Bluebird Records. He’s accompanied by the legendary Tampa Red on guitar. As is often the case, this traditional song was inspired by an earlier one, Someday Baby Blues, by Sleepy John Estes in 1935. It’s got more of a country blues feel, as opposed to the Chicago Blues that Big Maceo was known for. His moderate-tempo eight-bar blues style helped transform the blues, moving towards that “Chicago urban” style, with a more sophisticated improvisation, using the piano as his main instrument.

This episode was co-written by Syracuse University student Jacqueline Attia as part of the Sound Beat Class Partnership.