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Online encyclopedias are a good starting point for information on musicians and musical styles, as well as historical context.
Cross-searches many encyclopedias, including Contemporary Musicians and Contemporary Black Biography.
Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Online
Select "Volume 3: Music of the United Sates and Canada" to find some useful entries on blues and many social issues relevant to music.
Oxford Music Online
Searches several music encyclopedias, including the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz.
Another cross-searchable collection of encyclopedia and reference books.
Encyclopedia of Chicago
Includes entries on Chicago blues, as well as photographs, biographies, essays, art, music and documents on all things Chicago.