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Blind Lemon Jefferson. That's B.B. King's idol, too. Yeah, I had one of his records, and I loaned it to B.B. King. He said he was gonna bring it back, and he ain't brought it back yet, and that's been 12 years ago - John Lee Hooker, from The Voice of the Blues

Author Topic: Eddie "One String" Jones  (Read 393 times)

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Offline btasoundsradio

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    • BTA Sounds Radio: Podcast of Obscure Musics
Eddie "One String" Jones
« on: December 14, 2023, 02:56:49 AM »
I searched the forum but could find no prior mention of Eddie "One String" Jones. I can't recall when I first heard his music, but it was at least over a decade ago, and it was probably on the internet somewhere. My first exposure to "diddley bow", "one string" or "jitterbug" playing was probably Lonnie Pitchford from the Deep Blues documentary, which must've led me to research other players. The next one I can remember was Napoleon Strickland's "Key To The Bushes", the lead track on the Testament "Bottleneck Blues" compilation. I was further hypnotized by that performance. Somehow or another, I eventually stumbled on the recordings of Eddie "One String" Jones, a mysterious vagabond recorded on the streets of LA in 1960. These recordings wound up being issued on a Takoma LP, split with the harp player Eddie Hazelton, recorded on the same streets by Frederick Usher. Jones' playing and singing is in my opinion, a pinnacle of high art in the genre of so called country blues. His intense, almost preacher like delivery, his rambling explanations in between verses, and his expertly haunting slide playing, make this one of my favorite recordings of all time. I recently revisited it by acquiring a copy of the original LP and I'm still blown away. In this harrowing version of "Rolling and Tumbling", he rants about his mother rejecting him as a child, calling him a trifling boy, saying he won't amount to nothing then winning back her favor with a gospel song. His rant is completely convincing and adds a layer of urgency to this incredible performance. There doesn't seem to be any real biographical information on Jones, as he disappeared after playing a private party thrown by the recordist. It would seem his material comes from somewhere around the Memphis area, I would guess. He does a version of Newport News Blues by the Memphis Jug Band that mentions Aunt Caroline Dyer. He does an uncensored version of "The Dirty Dozens" reminiscent of Will Shade. He also does Memphis Minnie's "Want to See My Chauffeur", of course this doesn't mean he actually is from Memphis, but there's a few references in his lyrics that imply the general area's repertoire to me, and also his accent and dialect. Either way, the mystery is deep and this is essential listening to my ears.




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