BLIND WILLIE McTELL.

1898 - 1959.


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Blind Willie McTell is born, possibly on 5 May 1898, outside Thomson, Georgia. In 1907 he moves to Statesboro with his mother. After her death in 1910 he moves back to Thomson.

After spending time in travelling shows and having learned 12 string guitar and harmonica, Willie makes his first recordings in 1927, these include 'Mama, 'Tain't Long Fo' Day'. The following year a further Atlanta session produces 'Statesboro Blues'. A year later a third session produces another classic, 'Travelin Blues'.

1930 as the Depression bites hard in Atlanta, Willie enters the studio again but he make just two recordings. After an 18 month spell away from the studio, Willie records 'Broke Down Engine Blues' but only 500 copies are pressed.

In 1932 he records with the effervescent Ruby Glaze, two years later he records with Curley Weaver and Buddy Moss in New York.

Willie marries his childhood sweetheart Kate Williams in 1934.

Folklorist John Lomax records Willie for the Library of Congress Archieve of (American) Folk Songs in 1940.

Willie returns to commercial recording in 1949 after an absence of 13 years.

Record shop owner Ed Rhodes records an hour of Willie playing a variety of styles in 1956.

Blind Willie McTell dies in Milledgeville State Hospital, Georgia in 1959.

A selection of the recordings made by Rhodes is released as Last Session in 1961.


Blind Willie McTell.

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