The great thing about the Blues is how it changes from geographical area to geographical area but still manages to retain enough of its characteristics to be obviously the Blues. In Los Angeles they play what they call West Coast Blues and in Mississippi they have Delta Blues. As befits its pride, Texas has laid claim to its own version of the Blues, while up in Oklahoma and Tennessee they play what they call Piedmont style.
Outside of the Mississippi Delta Blues probably the most well known and established of the sounds is the one that originated in south west Chicago. The origins of Blues in Chicago are tied up in the migration of African Americans leaving the Southern states looking for work. From the time that slavery was abolished at the end of the Civil War, until integration was enforced in the 1960s and Jim Crow laws were abolished, Illinois was the demarcation line denoting the end of sitting in the back of the bus for African Americans.
While Chicago still had its establishments that refused to serve "coloureds," at least there was work to be found and there weren't laws that enforced bigotry. After the end of World War II, the flow of refugees from the South turned into a flood as people went north to take advantage of the post-war boom. Chicago had been home to a thriving African American music scene since the early days of the twentieth century that was probably second only to New York City in size. So it was only natural that it wasn't just people looking for regular work that came north, but musicians did as well.
Eddy Clearwater was one of those who came up looking for a musical future and it didn't take him long to become a permanent fixture on the Chicago Blues scene. He was born in 1935 in Macon County Mississippi and in 1948 his family moved to Birmingham Alabama. He had to teach himself to play the guitar upside down as he was a lefty. His first break came playing guitar for the Five Blind Boys of Alabama, and when he arrived in Chicago his first gigs were with Gospel groups, but gradually he started hooking up with Blues musicians.
He started his career using the name "Guitar Eddy" but changed it for his first recording to Clear Waters (his manager came up with it as a play on Muddy Waters) which soon evolved into Clearwater. He was one of the first Blues players to incorporate Rock and Roll into his Blues, paving the way for him to be able to keep playing in the '60s and '70s when the bottom fell out of the Blues market; at that time he was able to play steadily on the North Side of Chicago for young white audiences more interested in Rock and Roll than Blues.