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Mother begin to scream... scream and holler sayin "lord have mercy on my child". I told her hush, hush now mother don't you cry 'cause Uncle Sam knew I was born to die - Arthur Weston, Uncle Sam Called Me

Author Topic: Bill Williams "Bill's Rag"  (Read 2329 times)

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Offline southernpicker

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Bill Williams "Bill's Rag"
« on: October 15, 2005, 06:11:18 PM »
Hi friends,
i've just heard Bill Williams "Bill's Rag" in the Weenie Juke Radio and, being a Merle Travis fan for years, this song is almost note-for-note Travis "Saturday Night Shuffle". Can anyone give some light to the issue please?

Thanks
Southernpicker
Got the blues, can't be satisfied

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Bill Williams "Bill's Rag"
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2005, 02:18:59 AM »
Hi friends,
I've just heard Bill Williams "Bill's Rag" in the Weenie Juke Radio and, being a Merle Travis fan for years, this song is almost note-for-note Travis "Saturday Night Shuffle". Can anyone give some light to the issue please?
Thanks
Southernpicker

Don't know if this is 'light' or not but Paul Oliver interviewed him extensively at the 1971 Festival of American Folklife? in Montreal. The results of this were published as two separate, lengthy, features in Jazz & Blues magazine later that year (Bill Williams: An Outstanding Find (Aug-Sep) and Too Tight: Bill Williams In Person (Dec)). What follows is derived from what Williams told him about his indirect link with Travis's mentor:

"He (Williams) was born in Richmond, Virginia, on 28 February 1897 and lived out in the country some sixty miles from the city in his youth. His brother, James Williams, appears to have been his first inspiration. A ragtime guitarist, he was an unwilling tutor; Bill nevertheless picking up the rudiments of a ragtime technique which has remained in his music to the present day. At the age of fourteen he began a life of manual work, first as a waterboy at Wilmington, Delaware, for the railroad company, and subsequently far out west in Colorado where he worked in the mines at Lester and lived with relatives. Eventually, after a spell in Bristol, Tennessee, he dropped off a freight train at Greenup, Kentucky, and took a job with the C & O Railroad in Russell. Greenup, and that region has been his home stomping ground for half a century, a sector in the extreme west of the State in the loop of the Ohio River where Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia all meet. It's a region which has had quite a part to play in the story of country music in the white traditions - Merle Travis, Ike Everly - the father of the Everly Brothers, Don and Phil - and lesser known musicians came from that area. It also produced Arnold Schultz, a Negro guitarist of considerable local repute who would probably have remained unknown to us if it hadn't been for the fact that he played for country dances around Rosine, and was the first important influence on Bill Monroe. and it produced Jim Mason from Webster County, a guitarist just two years Bill Williams' junior, though it's doubtful if we would have known about him if it didn't just happen that he was the man who shaped the guitar styles of both Merle Travis and Ike Everly in Muhlenberg County and neighbouring parts. Bill Williams didn't have the luck to be an influence on a famous white country or hillbilly guitarist, at least by name. He was one of the several black guitarists and fiddle players who played their boxes in the region where, across the river from Greenup, Kentucky, the towns of Coal Grove, Ironton, Franklin Furnace and Scioto Furnace betray their mining, industrial character."

Online Johnm

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Re: Bill Williams "Bill's Rag"
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2005, 10:26:32 AM »
Hi all,
Just in the interest of geographical accuracy, Greenup is not in the extreme west of Kentucky--if it were, it would be a hell of a ways from West Virginia.  It is located on the Ohio River well east of Cincinnati, approximately twenty-five miles northwest of Huntington, West Virginia.  The nearest town of any size in Ohio is Portsmouth.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Bill Williams "Bill's Rag"
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2005, 11:07:26 AM »
Hi all,
Just in the interest of geographical accuracy, Greenup is not in the extreme west of Kentucky--if it were, it would be a hell of a ways from West Virginia.? It is located on the Ohio River well east of Cincinnati, approximately twenty-five miles northwest of Huntington, West Virginia.? The nearest town of any size in Ohio is Portsmouth.
All best,
Johnm
Not knowing whether it originated from Oliver or Williams my original post contained a postscript caveat which said "somebody's knowledge of the area's geography seems to be slightly awry", which is what I originally wrote in the margin of the magazine, but in the event thought it churlish to repeat here and hit delete!

Offline Montgomery

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Re: Bill Williams "Bill's Rag"
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2005, 03:01:02 PM »
I really need to get a copy of the Bill Williams albums...I know it was being weeded on some of these boards...anybody?

Offline Stefan Wirz

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Re: Bill Williams "Bill's Rag"
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2008, 12:24:56 PM »
someone informed me recently that those sound clips I have on my Bill Williams discography didn't work any more. In case anybody wants to have at least a taste of this fine music, which regrettably can't be listened to from a CD: I just fixed that problem !
Stefan

Offline Pan

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Re: Bill Williams "Bill's Rag"
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2012, 03:55:50 PM »
Fresh from YouTube:



Cheers

Pan

Edited to add: The YouTube channel in question has several other Bill Williams videos uploaded!
« Last Edit: November 13, 2012, 04:03:42 PM by Pan »

Online Johnm

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Re: Bill Williams "Bill's Rag"
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2012, 04:02:31 PM »
It would sure be interesting to know if this tune preceded Merle Travis's "Saturday Night Shuffle" or came from it.  I don't reckon we'll ever know.
All best,
Johnm

 


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