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Rural musicians were very frequently no more than frustrated vaudevillians - Tony Russell, Blacks Whites and Blues, p.14

Author Topic: Biographical Queries  (Read 3379 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Biographical Queries
« on: December 05, 2013, 08:44:56 AM »
Hi all,
I was wondering if anyone knew where Walter Beasley was from?  I know Sylvester Weaver was from Louisville, but is it known that Beasley was from there, too?  Also, I wondered if anyone knew where Lonnie Coleman was from?
All best,
Johnm

Offline dj

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2013, 04:33:11 AM »
I searched my CD notes and my library last night and couldn't find any information on either Beasley or Coleman, John.  Neither one appears in the index of the LeBlanc/Eagle book, which suggests that nothing much is known about either man.  Or that the index is incomplete and inaccurate.  Or both.   

Offline Johnm

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2013, 12:27:34 PM »
Thanks for that information, dj.  I had an idea that they both might qualify for the "unknown" point of origin in Weeniepedia.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2014, 08:40:21 PM »
Hi all,
I've been listening to a bunch of the Tefteller calendar CDs and one of them has two tracks sung by Jenny Pope.  The guitarist backing here sounds like it might be someone Indianapolis-based, a bit like Scrapper Blackwell, even more like Pete Franklin, but I think it is too early for it to be him.  Jenny Pope's singing sounds an awful lot like Mattie Delaney, a very intense head-tone.  I was wondering if someone with a copy of D,G & R had information on her session, her accompanist and where she was from.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: April 25, 2014, 05:23:58 AM by Johnm »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2014, 09:19:52 PM »
HI John - D, G & R/ B&GR has only unknown accompanists. Ditto Memphis Blues Vol 4 on Document. Neither confirm who Jenny Pope is.

B&GR has a note that she might be Jenny Clayton, who sang three songs with the Memphis Jug Band: I Packed My Suitcase, Started to the Train; State of Tennessee Blues; and Bob Lee Junior Blues.

This is certainly plausible to me, as both singers have serious head tone, although the notes to the Document disc strongly disagree that it's Clayton. I don't see the basis for the objection myself.

One thing is pretty clear to me though. The accompaniment is surely by someone involved with the Memphis Jug Band, either Will Shade or possibly Charlie Burse (even more likely?). The guitar parts to both her tunes are very strongly reminiscent of Spider's Nest Blues (sung by Hattie Hart). The Jenny Pope songs were recorded in Memphis, and Mr Postman Blues has very Memphis Jug Band-like jug.

Here's Spider's Nest Blues, in case you don't have it. Burse is on this record.

« Last Edit: April 24, 2014, 09:25:15 PM by uncle bud »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2014, 10:03:05 PM »
Thanks very much for the information and the track, uncle bud.  It is certainly the same guitarist as played on the Jenny Pope cuts.  Did Charlie Burse ever play six-string guitar?  I thought he was strictly a tenor guitar player.  Will Shade seems a good candidate.
All best,
Johnm

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2014, 05:30:19 AM »
Yeah, I don't know whether Burse ever played anything else, and B&GR doesn't differentiate between guitar and tenor guitar unfortunately, listing him simply as guitar.  Will Shade was pretty inventive in his guitar parts in a non-flashy way. I should revisit some postwar recordings to see if anything has a similar sound. I coulda sworn I've heard this accompaniment used again in another context but can't place it right now. I can see why you would say Indianapolis, and that was another reason I wondered about Burse, simply because it is a bit of a different sound than I would expect from Shade, and I know less about Burse.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2014, 09:37:39 AM »
Hi all,
I was wondering if there is any biographical information on Seth Richard?  Does anyone know where he came from, or short of that, where he was recorded?  Thanks for any information on him.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Pan

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2014, 10:05:42 AM »
Hi all,
I was wondering if there is any biographical information on Seth Richard?  Does anyone know where he came from, or short of that, where he was recorded?  Thanks for any information on him.
All best,
Johnm

Hi John

According to Dixon, Godrich & Rye, Richard's two recorded songs, "Lonely Seth Blues" and "Skoodeldum Doo", were recorded in New York on Tuesday, 15 May 1928.

D.G. & R also assume that the Richard is "Skoodle Dum Doo", in the duo Skoodle Dum Doo And Sheffield, who recorded 4 songs, probably in Newark, N.J.,  c. late 1943; "Tampa Blues", "Gas Ration Blues", Broome Street Blues" and "West Kinney Street Blues". They are not saying on what this assumption is based.

Hope this helps.

Pan
« Last Edit: May 30, 2014, 10:08:09 AM by Pan »

Offline ScottN

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2014, 11:13:53 AM »
An Internet search turned up a thread at the Blindman forum. A post 1/14/10 has liner notes by Gerard Herzhaft to the Document CD Rare Country Blues Vol 1 1928 - 1937

"In 1928 on the East Coast, Seth recorded a small hit for Columbia, Skoodle Dum Doo. The two titles selected here were recorded in New York or across the Hudson in Newark for a tiny label. Little is known of Seth Richard nor of Sheffield who accompanied him on guitar and harmonica. According to Bruce Bastin, the were originally from Florida."

Our own Oddenda posts on that thread 1/15/10 and notes that the connection is probably because (singer) Skoodle Dum Doo's composer credit listed on two of the four sides is "S. Richard." He believes the partners full name is "John" Sheffield.

There is other speculation on the thread of Virginia origins and The Florida link may be from one of the song's being Tampa Blues although Bastin may have had different reasons for believing Florida.

On Weenie, a search for Seth Richard leads to some additional liner notes in the 12 String players not from Georgia thread in reply #29 by DJ on 10/4/06.

 
Thanks,
           Scott
« Last Edit: May 30, 2014, 11:18:22 AM by ScottN »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2014, 01:46:33 PM »
Thanks Pan and Scott for the information on Seth Richard.  It sounds like there is no conclusive information regarding where he was from, with some different theories being floated but nothing certain determined.  Thanks for tracking down the information that is out there.
All best,
Johnm

Offline ScottN

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2014, 02:22:21 PM »
Hi John,

Bastin's Red River Blues (pages 298 and 322) actually makes the case for Seth Richard being from Bedford County, Virginia based on interviews with locals there and the narrow geographical common knowledge of the song Tampa Blues in that area of Virginia back to the 1930s (vs the recording in 1943).

Thanks,
              Scott

Offline dj

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2014, 06:59:27 AM »
Eagle and LeBlanc have the following on Seth Richard:

"Seth Richard (v/g/kazoo) (North Carolina, probably Halifax County, 1905 - after 1944)  Seth recorded "Skoodle Um Doo" for Columbia (1928).  It was apparently his theme song, because he adopted it as a nom de disque.  Seth was in Enfield [North Carolina, just south of the Virginia border] in 1930.  Seth recorded as "Skoodle Um Doo and Sheffield" for Regis/Manor (1943).  "Tampa Blues" seems to relate to Brown Pollard's similar song from Amherst County, Virginia (1930s), Known mainly in South Central Virginia.  Seth's Manor titles both celebrate streets in Newark, New Jersey."

So putting all the information cited in this thread together, it seems that Richard was probably born in North Carolina, spent the bulk of his life along the NC/Virginia border, and may have moved to Newark New Jersey late in life.


Edited to correct typo in Richard's name.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2014, 09:02:45 AM by dj »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2014, 08:21:00 AM »
Thanks for the additional information on Seth Richard (Richart?), Scott and dj.
All best,
Johnm

Offline dj

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2014, 09:04:19 AM »
Quote
Thanks for the additional information on Seth Richard (Richart?)

It's Richard.  I've fixed the typo. 

Offline Johnm

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2014, 05:44:08 PM »
Hi all,
It's not really biographical information I'm looking for, but session information.  For anyone with D,G & R and the time to look it up, is there an indication of who the two guitarists were on the Sammy Hill cut, "Needin' My Woman Blues"?  Thanks for your help.
All best,
Johnm

Offline eric

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2014, 06:23:14 PM »
John,

It's a slow night here in Placitas, so you're in luck: 
Sammy Hill, v; acc own g;  Keno Pipes, 2nd g/sp-1
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Eric

Offline Johnm

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2014, 06:25:41 PM »
Thanks so much for that information, Eric!  Keno Pipes--wow that's a monicker!  He's a new one on me.
All best,
Johnm

Offline eric

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2014, 06:55:01 AM »
That's a cool Texas blues piece. Sammy has a driving style throughout; Keno is a bit tentative at first but eventually gets into the spirit of the tune.  I posted it in the YouTube thread.
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Eric

Offline Johnm

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2014, 09:29:30 AM »
Hi all,
I was wondering if anyone knew where Mooch Richardson, who was accompanied by Lonnie Johnson on "Helena Blues", came from.  Thanks for any information on Mooch.
All best,
Johnm

Offline dj

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2014, 01:35:55 PM »
Lonnie Sherman, in the notes to Document CD 5169 - Country Blues Collector's Items, has Mooch as "a native of the Arkansas/Memphis area".  He doesn't appear in the index to Eagle & LeBlanc, which means either 1) with a real first name unknown, they couldn't find any hard information on him, or 2) we've found another error in the index.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2014, 04:07:01 PM »
Hi all,
I was wondering if anyone knew from whence Kid Prince Moore hailed.  I think he was from the Carolinas, but I don't know where exactly.  I'd appreciate any information.
All best,
Johnm

Offline eric

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2014, 04:34:59 PM »
 DG&R shows his earlier ARC recordings were made in NYC, but his 1938 Decca recordings were made in Charlotte, NC.  But that's all I know.
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Eric

Offline Johnm

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2014, 06:24:15 PM »
Thanks for the help, Eric.  I think I'll consider him a Tarheel until I hear conclusively otherwise.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #24 on: July 27, 2014, 08:14:15 AM »
Hi all,
I was wondering if anyone had any information on where Reese Crenshaw and/or Boy Green came from?  I'd appreciate any information on them.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Pan

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #25 on: July 27, 2014, 02:33:05 PM »
Hi John

Not much, but according to Dixon, Gordrich & Rye:

Reese Cranshaw, v; acc. prob. own g; Cool Breeze, v-1, Saturday, 15 December 1934. State Prison Farm, Milledgville, Ga.

259-A-1  Trouble -1
LoC: Flyright-Matchbox FLYLP259 (LP); Travelin' Man TMCD08 (CD)

259-A-2  John Henry
LoC: Flyright-Matchbox FLYLP259 (LP)


And according to the Blues Discography 1943- 1970, by Les Fancourt & Bob McGrath, Boy Green recorded two sides in New York, in 1944.

1103-S, A and B blues, Regis 120

1104-S, Play My Juke Box, Regis 120

Maybe someone with the access to the liner notes of the recordings can add more.

Cheers

Pan


Offline uncle bud

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #26 on: July 27, 2014, 03:19:19 PM »
Only a little more info in Red River Blues: Most of the 1,000 inmates at the State Prison Farm were white. Crenshaw performed "Trouble" in response to Lomax's question about why he was in jail. There is apparently an unidentified track at the LoC which may also be Crenshaw, a guitar instrumental with speed fluctuations that has not been issued. Maybe it is online at the culturalequity.org now?

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #27 on: July 27, 2014, 11:58:35 PM »
Hi all,
I was wondering if anyone had any information on where Reese Crenshaw and/or Boy Green came from?  I'd appreciate any information on them.
All best,
Johnm
With regard to Boy Green, when Bruce Bastin included him on his 1976 compilation Play My JukeBox East Coast Blues 1943-1953 (Flyright 4711) he wrote:

Nothing is known about the superb guitarist, Boy Green. His sides were made shortly after those by Seth Richard but he vanished just as surely into the anonymity of the vast New York conurbation. In an interview in 1970, Alec Seward, a fine Virginia guitarist who came to live in New York in 1924, mentioned an excellent East Side guitarist and singer, Willie Green; conceivably the same man.

A decade Bruce slightly expanded upon the above in his book Red River Blues (page 334):

Boy Green recorded for Regis, and his fine voice and excellent picking are well exposed on "A and B Blues," the flip of which, "Play My jukebox," possibly unconsciously hints at the recently ended Petrillo ban. Alec Seward mentioned an East Side guitarist, who has never been located, by the name of Willie Green, who might have been the same man. A Willie Green recorded two titles for the Enrica label about 1959 and a man of the same name recorded two unissued sides for Savoy in May 1962.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #28 on: August 03, 2014, 11:17:32 PM »
Thanks to Pan, uncle bud and Bunker Hill for the information on Reese Crenshaw and Boy Green.  It seems as though nothing definite is known about either player's origins.
All best,
Johnm

Offline funkapus

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #29 on: August 04, 2014, 12:10:28 PM »
While at PT this past week, I heard someone cover "Mill Man Blues" by Billy Bird, the first I've heard of this tune.  I'd love to know more about him and his discography, but both Allmusic and Wikipedia have nothing about him.  Searching here has some references to this song but little else.  Anyone have any more?  Thanks much!

Offline TonyGilroy

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #30 on: August 04, 2014, 01:38:26 PM »

Thought to be (more correctly there is speculation that he might have been) Joe Evans of the Two Poor Boys - Evans & McClain.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #31 on: August 04, 2014, 09:27:43 PM »
I may be wrong (it's somewhat hazy) but I believe I read somewhere way back when that Billy Bird was the "aka" of someone else. Can't remember who though.

Offline dj

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #32 on: September 03, 2014, 03:57:54 AM »
Quote
I may be wrong (it's somewhat hazy) but I believe I read somewhere way back when that Billy Bird was the "aka" of someone else. Can't remember who though.

Sorry to be so late on this, but you're right, Stuart.  Eagle & LeBlanc, in their entry for Joe Evans of the Two Poor Boys, have "Reported to be Billy Bird".  Unfortunately, there's no note on where that report came from.  If Bird is Evans, that would put his birth and main area of activity somewhere around Knoxville, Tennessee.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #33 on: September 03, 2014, 04:07:29 PM »
Sorry to be so late on this, but you're right, Stuart.  Eagle & LeBlanc, in their entry for Joe Evans of the Two Poor Boys, have "Reported to be Billy Bird".  Unfortunately, there's no note on where that report came from.  If Bird is Evans, that would put his birth and main area of activity somewhere around Knoxville, Tennessee.

Hi dj: Thanks for the reply. IIRC, I read this back in the early 70's. It might have been included in an expansion of  the discussion about the similarities between the guitar on Mill Man (1928) and Carl Martin's Crow Jane (1935) as mentioned in the notes to "Guitar Wizards." The Yazoo LPs with the songs had been out for a couple of years by that time.

I just listened to Billy Bird's Mill Man, followed by Joe Evans and Arthur McClain's Mill Man (1931) and then Carl Martin's Crow Jane. There are definitely similarities between the two versions of Mill Man, and between the guitar accompaniment on Mill Man and that on Crow Jane. Carl Martin backing Joe Evans recording as Billy Bird on Mill Man? A strong "maybe"--but there are other possibilities given all that we don't know.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2014, 04:08:59 PM by Stuart »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #34 on: September 09, 2014, 03:08:29 PM »
Hi all,
I was wondering if anyone knew the birth name of Georgia Slim, who recorded the "New Root Man Blues", recently featured in the "What is This Musician Doing?" thread?  Thanks for any information.
All best,
Johnm

Offline jpeters609

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #35 on: September 09, 2014, 07:01:55 PM »
According to Blues & Gospel Records: "Brownie McGhee has stated this artist's real name was George Bedford." (This is in reference to Georgia Slim. Recorded in Birmingham, Alabama, April 5-7, 1937.)
« Last Edit: September 09, 2014, 07:05:39 PM by jpeters609 »
Jeff

Offline Johnm

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #36 on: September 09, 2014, 07:44:09 PM »
Thanks for that information, Jeff.  I was going to put Georgia Slim in Weeniepedia and I don't like to do that until I have a person's real name as well as his or her performance name.  Oh, and I realized on Tarheel Slim's "Wildcat Tamer" that Slim was playing the finger-picked rhythm guitar part that folks were trying to identify, but Wild Jimmy Spruill did play the lead solo, just as you had it.  Sorry for the mix-up.
All best,
Johnm 

Offline Johnm

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #37 on: November 25, 2015, 06:47:59 AM »
Hi all,
I was wondering if anyone had any biographical information or session information on Tommy Griffin, who recorded in the '30s, I believe.  I found some tracks by him on youtube, and they all appear to be piano/guitar duets.  I don't know even if he only sang or was one of the instrumentalists.  Any information on him would be great appreciated.  Thanks.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #38 on: November 25, 2015, 08:12:08 AM »
Hi John
Tommy Griffin was a vocalist who, according to Godrich and Dixon had two recording sessions. The first was in Memphis in early February 1930. He was accompanied by pianist Eddie Hill and recorded four sides: Mistreatment Blues/Yo Yo Mama Blues/Ball Playing Blues/Bell Tolling Blues.

Six years later he recorded 12 sides for Bluebird at the St Charles Hotel in New Orleans on Friday 16 October 1936. He was accompanied by Earnest '44' Johnson on piano and by Walter Jacobs on guitar. The titles were: I'm Gonna Try That Meat/Young Heifer Blues/Hey Hey Blues/Dying Sinner blues (parts 1 and 2)/I'm Gonna Buy Me Some/Mistreatin' Papa/Miserable Life Blues/Snske Hipping Blues/Little Tommy Blues/On my Way Blues/Dream Book Blues.

From another internet source I learned that the day before the New Orleans session, Bo Carter had brought a  bunch of associates to record for Bluebird (for which he received 5% of all fees). As well as recording himself, Bo arranged recordings for Sam and Lonnie Chatmon, Mississippi Matilda (Matilda Powell), Eugene Powell, Willie Harris and harmonica player Robert Hill.

Walter Jacobs' presence in the same studio, backing Tommy Griffin, leads one to conjecture whether there might have been a grand Mississippi Sheiks' reunion the night before! In any event, the St Charles Hotel in New Orleans on 15 and 16 October 1936 is one of the places I'll programme into my time machine when I get it.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #39 on: November 25, 2015, 08:33:59 AM »
Thanks very much for the information, Prof!  The fact that it was Walter Jacobs/Vinson playing the guitar on "Dream Book Blues" goes some way towards explaining some of the expert flat-picking on several of the Mississippi Sheiks cuts.  And you're right--what a group of musicians!  It would have been fun to hear them rehearsing or just playing after hours.  Thanks!
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #40 on: January 13, 2016, 02:42:31 PM »
Hi all,
I was wondering if anyone knew Washboard Walter's given name and from whence he hailed.  I've seen it stated as though a fact that he was the same person who recorded some string band sides as Walter Taylor, and that he was from Louisville.  I'd be interested to know if this is known as a fact, or was a hunch on the part of the person making the assertion.  Any information is appreciated.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Pan

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #41 on: January 13, 2016, 02:56:31 PM »
Hi John.

This is not much, but Dixon, Godrich & Rye have this to say on their entry for Walter Taylor:

"Washboard Walter was once thought to be a pseudonym for Walter Taylor, but a careful study of these Paramount recordings has led us to believe  that he is probably a different artist and he is therefore listed separately under Washboard Walter."

Cheers

Pan

Offline Johnm

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #42 on: January 13, 2016, 05:13:36 PM »
Thanks for that information, Pan.  If those authors don't feel that Washboard Walter and Walter Taylor are the same person, that makes me less inclined to accept the identification of the two as one and the same person that I've seen elsewhere.  Thanks!
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #43 on: January 19, 2016, 01:08:23 PM »
Hi all,
I wondered if it was known from whence George "Bullet" Williams came.  I'd appreciate any information.
All best,
Johnm

Offline banjochris

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #44 on: January 19, 2016, 01:51:57 PM »
There's a little info here:
http://www.thebluestrail.com/artists/mus_gbw.htm

and a remembrance from Booker White in one of the issues of 78 Quarterly, and I don't know that I've ever seen much more than that.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #45 on: January 19, 2016, 06:10:27 PM »
Hi Chris,
Thanks for the information.  I saw that site, too, but I don't know how much whoever has that site states as fact is, in fact, validated via birth records, etc.  As you note, there's so little information I don't think we'll be able to do better than that.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Lignite

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Re: Biographical Queries
« Reply #46 on: January 19, 2016, 07:19:12 PM »
Either way, I'm bringing the shoe polish and rubbing alcohol for our next blues happy hour!

 


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