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Big Maceo

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b. Major Meriweather, 31 March 1905, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, d. 26 February 1953, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Big Maceo learned piano while living in a suburb of Atlanta in his early teens. In 1924 he moved to Detroit where he made his name on the local blues scene. In the early 40s, he made a series of classic recordings with the Chicago guitarist Tampa Red. Maceo's piano lends a distinctive toughness and weight to Tampa's records, while the guitarist complements the other's superb sides with his supple and beautifully expressive slide lines. Maceo's "Worried Life" was a big hit, and has become one of the most covered of all blues songs, while most of the other tracks he recorded for the Bluebird/Victor company are of equal quality. These ranged from the plaintive "Poor Kelly Blues" to powerful instrumental pieces such as "Chicago Breakdown". After a stroke in 1946, his later records failed to recapture the glories of his earlier work.

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