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I went to the graveyard just to dig me up some gold.. - Allen Brothers, Maybe Next Week Sometime, 1930

Author Topic: Rhythm Willie  (Read 591 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Rhythm Willie
« on: October 11, 2017, 05:22:56 PM »
Hi all,
I was surfing on youtube the other day and clicked on a video on "Rhythm Willie", never having heard of him before.  I suppose he may be well known to harmonica players, but if he isn't he should be.  Listen to him play "Breathtakin' Blues", his version of "St. James Infirmary" (I don't know who his backing pianist was):



Here is his "Bedroom Stomp".  He must be one of the greatest utilizers of the harmonica's upper range:



Here is "Boarding House Blues":



Finally, "New Block and Tackle Blues":



He seems a really amazing player to me.  Does anyone know anything about him biographically?

All best,
Johnm

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Rhythm Willie
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2017, 12:22:26 AM »
Not a great deal seems to be known about Willie, other than his birth and death dates (1910 - 1954). Here is a short article. http://www.patmissin.com/articles/AHN5.html and a longer one here http://nighthawk.sundayblues.org/articles/RhythmWillie.pdf


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Offline Johnm

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Re: Rhythm Willie
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2017, 10:01:57 AM »
Thanks for posting those finds, Prof.  I'm not at all up on what Rhythm Willie was doing technically on the harmonica, but it sounds like his approach was quite unusual for his time and place.  And he died way too young--44 years old!
All best,
Johnm

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Rhythm Willie
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2017, 11:22:51 AM »
Of course I dropped a line to Mighty Joe Bellulovich Harmonica player extraordinaire, former busking partner and co-member of our short lived "Academy of Ancient Blues". His reply:


"One of the Greatest! !!! One of my favorites  also !!"

My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline randyweinstein

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Re: Rhythm Willie
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2017, 10:29:15 AM »

Offline Mike Billo

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Re: Rhythm Willie
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2017, 06:54:25 AM »
There's five cuts by him on Wolf WSE 106 CD Harmonica Blues (1929-40)

There are also 4 cuts on RST's Harps, Jugs, Washboards and Kazoos. Liner notes by Howard Rye say that there is speculation that Rhythm Willie was White (although Rye doubts it)

Offline oddenda

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Re: Rhythm Willie
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2017, 05:20:09 PM »
"Rhythm" Willie Hood died in 1945 [Chicago Defender - 22 May]. Scott Dirks did a piece on him for BLUES & RHYTHM (# 127 - Mar 1998, pp.4-9.)

pbl


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