Statesboro Blues: The Early Years 1927-1935

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/12/2005
  • Label: Document
  • UPC: 714298567724
  • Catalog Number: 5677

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Writing Paper Blues (3:11)
  2. 2 Stole Rider Blues (3:08)
  3. 3 Mamma, Tain't Long Fo' Day (3:01)
  4. 4 Mr. McTell Got the Blues (2:21)
  5. 5 Mr. McTell Got the Blues (2:22)
  6. 6 Three Women Blues (2:43)
  7. 7 Dark Night Blues (2:51)
  8. 8 Statesboro Blues (2:32)
  9. 9 Loving Talking Blues (2:43)
  10. 10 Atlanta Strut (3:10)
  11. 11 Travelin' Blues (3:14)
  12. 12 Come on Around to My House Mama (3:03)
  13. 13 Kind Mama (2:57)
  14. 14 Teasing Brown (2:43)
  15. 15 Drive Away Blues (3:13)
  16. 16 This Is Not the Stove to Brown Your Bread (2:33)
  17. 17 Love Changing Blues (3:08)
  18. 18 Talkin' to Myself (3:12)
  19. 19 Razor Ball (3:20)
  20. 20 Southern Can Is Mine (3:15)
  21. 21 Broke Down Engine Blues (3:09)
  22. 22 Stomp Down Rider (3:08)
  23. 23 Scarey Day Blues (3:02)
  24. 24 Rough Alley Blues (3:18)
  25. 25 Experience Blues (3:13)
  26. 26 Painful Blues (2:53)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Low Rider's Blues (3:19)
  2. 2 Georgia Rag (3:05)
  3. 3 Low Down Blues (3:14)
  4. 4 Rollin' Mama Blues (2:53)
  5. 5 Lonesome Day Blues (3:14)
  6. 6 Mama, Let Me Scoop for You (3:12)
  7. 7 Searching the Desert for the Blues (3:07)
  8. 8 Warm It Up to Me (2:57)
  9. 9 It's Your Time to Worry (3:04)
  10. 10 It's a Good Little Thing (2:53)
  11. 11 You Was Born to Die (2:51)
  12. 12 Dirty Mistreater (3:11)
  13. 13 Lord Have Mercy If You Please (2:59)
  14. 14 Don't You See How This World Made a Change (2:56)
  15. 15 Savannah Mama (3:18)
  16. 16 Broke Down Engine (3:16)
  17. 17 Broke Down Engine No. 2 (3:28)
  18. 18 Broke Down Engine No. 2 (2:54)
  19. 19 My Baby's Gone (3:00)
  20. 20 Love Makin' Mama (2:56)
  21. 21 Love Makin' Mama (2:53)
  22. 22 Death Room Blues (2:52)
  23. 23 Death Room Blues (2:59)
  24. 24 Death Cell Blues (3:07)
Disc 3
  1. 1 Lord, Send Me an Angel (2:58)
  2. 2 Lord, Send Me an Angel (2:54)
  3. 3 B and O Blues No. 2 (3:02)
  4. 4 B and O Blues No. 2 (2:50)
  5. 5 Weary Hearted Blues (3:03)
  6. 6 Bell Street Lightnin' (2:55)
  7. 7 Southern Can Mama (2:57)
  8. 8 Runnin' Me Crazy (3:08)
  9. 9 East St. Louis Blues (2:54)
  10. 10 Ain't It Grand to Be a Christian (3:11)
  11. 11 We Got to Meet Death One Day (3:00)
  12. 12 We Got to Meet Death One Day (2:54)
  13. 13 Don't Let Nobody Turn You Around (2:46)
  14. 14 I Got Religion, I'm So Glad (3:13)
  15. 15 Dying Gambler (3:00)
  16. 16 God Don't Like It (2:47)
  17. 17 Bell Street Blues (2:51)
  18. 18 Let Me Play with Yo' Yo-Yo (3:08)
  19. 19 Lay Some Flowers on My Grave (3:26)
  20. 20 Ticket Agent Blues (3:21)
  21. 21 Cold Winter Day (3:10)
  22. 22 Your Time to Worry (2:42)
  23. 23 Cooling Board Blues (3:19)
  24. 24 Hillbilly Willie's Blues (2:42)
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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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