"I was on tour with Fats Domino and Johnny 'Guitar' Watson in 1957. We started in New Orleans and was going all through Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and everywhere. And we were playing for a mixed audience. Because of Fats Domino, we was playing big auditoriums. The white people wanted to see Fats Domino and they wasn't going to stand for that segregation. See, in the '50s, in '55, when Jimmy Reed, Etta James and all of them used to go down on those package tours, the whites would have to be up in the balcony, while the blacks was downstairs dancin' with the band. But the people stopped Jim Crow at theaters and things. The audience did that on their own. They would come and break down the barriers. The white cops were trying to hold the white kids back from the blacks, and they broke the barriers down, started dancing with the blacks, and they started integrating. The music did that.

"Fats Domino started it. He was the first rock-and-roll guy. And everybody was buying his music. Whites liked his music as well as the blacks. And he was playing integrated clubs by the early fifties. I went on tour with him, we were playing Texas and everywhere, and there were as many whites in the audience as there was blacks. Then Bo Diddly came along, then Chuck Berry, then Little Richard, and that was it. That was the beginning of rock and roll."
~ Billy Boy Arnold sideman for Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters and Earl Hooker in the '50s
"I didn't know I was gonna meet all these people from famous groups, such as Charlie Watts. It was a great thing for me to do. I thought they were the greatest; I still think they are. I didn't know Eric Clapton until we came in the studio together [Early '70s]. He didn't look like I pictured. I was sittin' down and he got him a chair and sat down by me. We recorded two numbers together before we even reached over and made names together. He said, 'My name is Eric,' and I said, 'My name's Hubert.' And he said, 'I know about you,' and I said, 'Well, man, I heard about you, too.' So we got to talkin' and he invited me to dinner. I went outside the studio and he had a Rolls Royce out there with a chauffeur. We went way up from London in some woods. Man, it was a big old place - I ain't been over it all yet; I've just walked through some of it. The first thing he did was take me down in the basement and show me his guitars. 'Have one,' he said. I picked out a Fender Stratocaster. He had about 140 guitars, maybe more than that. He was surrounded. In fact, I'm using that guitar right now. It's a nice instrument that plays good. I like Fenders, period. They give you a better sound. My amp is a Fender Twin Reverb. When amplifiers first came out, I had an old Wabash amp. I still got it, but it's not workin'."

~ Hubert Sumlin
"The way Sam Phillips put it, he was looking for a 'white nigger.' That's the word he used. And Elvis was it."
~ Jimmy Dawkins, born 1936, Tchula, MS, sideman guitarist for Willie Dixon, Magic Sam and                                          Big Walter Horton
"You don't hear the disco much now. All right, they got rap now. That rap is gonna go, too. But really, rap stands so long because all the young people can do it together. All them doing the same thing together. That's the reason they like it. You take rap, there's no feeling to it. What they dance by is the beat. You don't feel it. Just BOOMP-BOOMP-BOOMP, and they're doing this. There's no feeling to it. They have a lot of fun, they're doing it together. You see? But it ain't nothin'."
~ Honeyboy Edwards

"We made the whiskey in canal ditches in the woods, hid off the highways. We'd get some of them fifty-gallon oil drums, and that's what you cook it in. You got to know how to burn it so ain't no oil in there no more. You got to get the copper pipe, make a coil, get one of them big wooden barrels, that's your cooling barrel. Get that flour dough and cinch up where your pipe go through so no steam come out. You start the fire. and you set there. You can't rush the fire. It's a baby, you got to nurse it. It starts to doing its thing and you can hear the pipe start  making a little funny noise. Pop. Pop. Pop-pop-pop. There it is. All of the south was dry then, the people so thirsty for it. . . .You make it, you sell it. No aging, no nothing. Sell."
~ Muddy Waters
"I believe that blues music, the way we play it, could be played anywhere. It's just a matter of being able to get people to know about it. It was like, we wasn't trying to say, B.B. King and blues versus rock and roll, but let's be a part of it. Let us be a part of it with what we've got....We thought it was good. And we come to find out a lot of other people think it's good, too."
~ B. B. King
"I loved [Robert Johnson's] music. I first heard him when he came out with Terraplane and I believe Walkin' Blues was on the other side. I always followed his records right down the line."

[On seeing Johnson at Friar's Point, Mississippi] "People were crowdin' 'round him, and I stopped and peeked over. I got back into the car and left, because he was a dangerous man....and he really was using the git-tar....I crawled away and pulled out, because it was too heavy for me.

[On his used 1934 V8 Ford] "I was so wild and crazy and dumb in my car. My grandmother said I'm going to kill myself. It didn't run but thirty miles an hour, how you going to kill yourself? You could take a good fast horse and keep up with them."

 ~Muddy Waters
"I'd go in Pepper's [Johnny Pepper's Lounge in Chicago where Muddy played in the early 1960s] with Joe, and as soon as Muddy would see Joe he'd make a big fuss, get him a place to sit, buy him a bottle and have them bring over a setup, which was a bowl with ice and tongs and a couple little red cherries to make it classy. He'd announce from the stage that Big Joe Williams was in the audience and he wrote Baby Please Don't Go. Muddy would act like a little kid around Joe and Joe loved to be treated like that." 
~ Charlie Musselwhite
"I've been doing that [clay sculptures] ever since I was a little boy in school. My uncle used to try to make mules, so I started trying to make mules and other things. I made a skull once to scare my grandfather. I made this skull and put it on the shelf, and he come in and had to light a match to light the lamp and I put the skull where he could see it when he'd light that lamp. He made me take it out of the house. Then I tied a string to his bedsprings - those old coil springs - and ran it through a crack in the wall to my room. When him and my grandmother went to bed, I would lay in my bed in the next room and shake 'em up. He accused my grandmother of shakin' the bed, so she got up out of bed to show him she wasn't shakin' the bed. I really shook it then. He said, 'I know what it is. You're bringing these white folks clothes [presumably, from his job in a funeral home] in here. Some of them are dead and they're coming back for 'em.' From then on, he always thought there was a ghost in the house; he didn't know it was me."
~ James "Son" Thomas

One of the things he (Muddy Waters) told me then that I tell all the young musicians today: practice. He told me to be yourself, not to play for these people one way and these people another way, be they black or white. As great as I thought he was, he was very modest. I call him the godfather of the blues. He did more for the blues than most of us."

~ B. B. King
"When I heard him (Howlin' Wolf) I said, 'This is for me. This is where the soul of man never dies.' Then the Wolf came in the studio and he was about six foot six, with the biggest feet I've ever seen on a human being. Big Foot Chester is one name they used to call him. He would sit there with those feet planted wide apart, playing nothing but the French harp, and I tell you, the greatest sight you could see today would be Chester Burnett doing one of those sessions in my studio. God, what it would be worth the see the veins on his neck and, buddy, there was nothing on his mind but that song. He sang with his damn soul.

~ Sam Phillips
"I never had it in my mind that this would happen like this for me. I was in Chicago working in the North Shore working for rich white people in their homes, scrubbing floors, taking care of the kids, washing and ironing the clothes, but that was good because it was a job, and honestly, anything you can do to make a honest dollar and live out of it is good."
~ Koko Taylor
I never knew or saw Robert Johnson. But Sonnyboy and I used to work together up here. I never saw him down there. He was a good musician and a tough old goat........he wouldn't back down for nothing."
~ John Lee Hooker
"Well, you see, the way the blues is, somebody worried about something, they got the blues if they can't sing them. If your old lady done quit you, you got the blues if you can't sing 'em. If you can sing 'em, you can get them off your mind, practically. That's what the blues is all about."
~ Pinetop Perkins
"I'd go up there with him [Muddy Waters] to the Zanzibar [Club in Chicago where Muddy Waters, Jimmy Rogers and Little Walter were the house band from '46 until '54]. The sound was great. Electric. It was unusual to see someone on electric then. I learned a lot of stuff just watching him."
~ R. L. Burnside
Music: Elmore James, The Sky Is Crying
[Remembering a visit to his father's home by Muddy Waters]"I was out in the yard and this big car pulled up. The guy walks out and he had on this chartreuse, bright, bright green suit. I look down and his shoes were made of cow skin, the fur was on them, black and white and brown. And I looked up and he had one of those five-inch hat brims. I was young enough that I didn't know this was a blues artist, it could have been a spaceship landed."

~ Marshall Chess, son of Chess Records' Leonard Chess
"When Muddy would drink, I didn't have anybody to go home to and if he wanted to stay out two days, I'd hang right with him. We'd just ride and drink gin. Muddy would never buy no more than a half-pint at a time. The guy at Forty-third and Drexel knowed him. The store was open all night, selling cookies and cold drinks. Muddy would come in, signal the guy with one finger, and the guy would slip him one. We also knowed a bootlegger right up the street from Muddy's house. He didn't make his own, but you could go after hours and get it. Muddy would go on these drinking sprees and he'd do a couple days - a half-pint at a time."

[On Little Walter's refusal to show him his harp technique] "It hurt me so bad I never asked him again. (Otis) Spann was sitting there and Spann said, 'Come on, Bro Cotton. I'll show you.' He played triplets on the piano and I started playing them on the harmonica. Spann learnt me how to play with Muddy. We were so close on him we knew what he could and couldn't say. Like, Muddy lisped and couldn't say 'trouble.' Spann would say, 'Watch him on the third verse, he's gonna jump time.' We knew how to catch the man."

~ James Cotton, harp player for Muddy Waters, 1955-1966