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Mystery Guitarist


Hi, all.

I came across the attached song by Irene Scruggs in a stack of 78s I recently purchased,  My Back To The Wall on Varsity 6050.  It caught my interest because it is one of the earliest examples of a female vocalist accompanied by slide guitar that I can think of.

Varsity 6050 is a 78 reissue dubbed from either Ge 7296, Ch 16148 or Spt 9769 -- all of which were pressed from the original Gennett master 16975-A recorded Aug 30 1930.

However, Blues & Gospel Records, 4th ed., lists the guitarist as unknown.  I dislike "unknowns", so I often try to solve puzzles like this.  B&GR also mentions that interveining matrices are by Sam Tarpley and Willie Owens (The Scare Crow).  Seems the Willie Owens session didn't use a guitarist.  However, Tarpley used a guitarist named Willie James (apparently not the same artist as Willie B[ee] James, who accompanied a number of singers in the mid to late 30s -- mostly on Bluebird).

Willie James also recorded two songs of his own for Gennett the same day, but neither was issued on 78, and as far as I can tell, haven't been issued on LP or CD either.  However, based on the only Tarpley song I have -- Try Some Of That - Willie James was also a slide guitarist.  And sounds somewhat similar to the guitarist on the attached Irene Scruggs song.  So I'm guessing Willie James was also the guitarist for Scruggs.

If anyone has any different opinions, I would appreciate your input.

I like 78 puzzles  :)  and I also have a 78 of this particular track.

If of any help Rust (the jazz equivalent reference of G D) gives Willie James. The other titles recorded on that day by Scruggs would seem to be by Willie James and/or J Norman Ebron on piano.

The matrices numbers are listed if you want to get totally confused  :-X


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