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Statesboro Blues: The Early Years 1927-1935
     

Statesboro Blues: The Early Years 1927-1935

by Blind Willie McTell
 
Blind Willie McTell is unique among country bluesmen in having a 30-year recording career while remaining essentially an itinerant musician, and during his lifetime he was a familiar sight on the streets of Atlanta and other Southern cities as he performed his varied repertoire of blues, rags, and vaudeville pieces on his 12-string guitar. This three-disc collection

Overview

Blind Willie McTell is unique among country bluesmen in having a 30-year recording career while remaining essentially an itinerant musician, and during his lifetime he was a familiar sight on the streets of Atlanta and other Southern cities as he performed his varied repertoire of blues, rags, and vaudeville pieces on his 12-string guitar. This three-disc collection assembles all of his commercial 78s (as well as alternate takes) from Victor, Columbia, OKeh, and Vocalion, including his signature tune, the magnificent "Statesboro Blues." Whether McTell actually wrote a lot of these songs (or merely adapted them) is unclear, but there is a sharp writer's eye at work here, as evidenced by lines like "Mother died and left me reckless/Daddy died and left me wild" (from "Statesboro Blues") or "I got the blues so bad/I can feel them in the dark" (from "Dark Night Blues"). These recordings feature the early McTell, when his voice was a high and expressive tenor -- that voice deepened and grew rougher as a lifetime of street singing began to take its toll, and by the time Alan Lomax recorded him in the 1940s, McTell had slowed the pace of his songs down considerably as well. All three of the discs included here have been available as individual sets from Document, but having them all together in one package brings the full sweep of McTell's commercial career into focus. Few country bluesmen of his day could boast as varied a repertoire, one that embraced deep blues, Piedmont, and hokum styles, as well as religious and gospel pieces, and he was a remarkably consistent performer in all of these guises. There are multiple takes of some songs that might irritate some casual listeners, and since the set unfolds chronologically, the pacing at times bogs down, but as the lion's share of his life's work, these recordings show why artists like Bob Dylan hold Blind Willie McTell in such high regard.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/12/2005
Label:
Document
UPC:
0714298567724
catalogNumber:
5677

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Writing Paper Blues
  2. Stole Rider Blues
  3. Mamma, Tain't Long Fo' Day
  4. Mr. McTell Got the Blues
  5. Mr. McTell Got the Blues
  6. Three Women Blues
  7. Dark Night Blues
  8. Statesboro Blues
  9. Loving Talking Blues
  10. Atlanta Strut
  11. Travelin' Blues
  12. Come on Around to My House Mama
  13. Kind Mama
  14. Teasing Brown
  15. Drive Away Blues
  16. This Is Not the Stove to Brown Your Bread
  17. Love Changing Blues
  18. Talkin' to Myself
  19. Razor Ball
  20. Southern Can Is Mine
  21. Broke Down Engine Blues
  22. Stomp Down Rider
  23. Scarey Day Blues
  24. Rough Alley Blues
  25. Experience Blues
  26. Painful Blues

Disc 2

  1. Low Rider's Blues
  2. Georgia Rag
  3. Low Down Blues
  4. Rollin' Mama Blues
  5. Lonesome Day Blues
  6. Mama, Let Me Scoop for You
  7. Searching the Desert for the Blues
  8. Warm It Up to Me
  9. It's Your Time to Worry
  10. It's a Good Little Thing
  11. You Was Born to Die
  12. Dirty Mistreater
  13. Lord Have Mercy If You Please
  14. Don't You See How This World Made a Change
  15. Savannah Mama
  16. Broke Down Engine
  17. Broke Down Engine No. 2
  18. Broke Down Engine No. 2
  19. My Baby's Gone
  20. Love Makin' Mama
  21. Love Makin' Mama
  22. Death Room Blues
  23. Death Room Blues
  24. Death Cell Blues

Disc 3

  1. Lord, Send Me an Angel
  2. Lord, Send Me an Angel
  3. B and O Blues No. 2
  4. B and O Blues No. 2
  5. Weary Hearted Blues
  6. Bell Street Lightnin'
  7. Southern Can Mama
  8. Runnin' Me Crazy
  9. East St. Louis Blues
  10. Ain't It Grand to Be a Christian
  11. We Got to Meet Death One Day
  12. We Got to Meet Death One Day
  13. Don't Let Nobody Turn You Around
  14. I Got Religion, I'm So Glad
  15. Dying Gambler
  16. God Don't Like It
  17. Bell Street Blues
  18. Let Me Play with Yo' Yo-Yo
  19. Lay Some Flowers on My Grave
  20. Ticket Agent Blues
  21. Cold Winter Day
  22. Your Time to Worry
  23. Cooling Board Blues
  24. Hillbilly Willie's Blues

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Blind Willie McTell   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals,Human Whistle,Speech/Speaker/Speaking Part
Buddy Moss   Guitar
Curley Weaver   Guitar,Vocals,Speech/Speaker/Speaking Part,Spoken Word
Bethenea Harris   Vocals
Kate McTell   Vocals
William Shorter   Banjo
Ruby Glaze   Guitar,Vocals
Alfoncy Harris   Vocals
Ruth Willis   Vocals

Technical Credits

Blind Willie McTell   Arranger,Composer
Dave Evans   Liner Notes
Bethenea Harris   Duet
Gary Atkinson   Producer,Cover Design,Audio Production
Alfoncy Harris   Duet
Traditional   Composer
Dave Evans   Liner Notes

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