William Harris

Virtually nothing is known about bluesman William Harris; as a result of the rhythmic intricacy of the guitar work in evidence on the nine songs which comprise his recorded legacy, historians have placed him as a product of the Mississippi Delta, although the geographic references scattered among his music also suggest an Alabama background. Birmingham, Alabama was certainly the location of his first recording session, cut on July 18, 1927; accounts suggest that at the time Harris was a performer with F.S. Wolcott's Rabbit Foot Minstrels. Theories that he traveled the medicine show circuit are lent further credence by his second recording date, which occured over a three-day period in October 1928 in Richmond, Indiana; among the tracks cut by Harris was "Kansas City Blues," previously recorded by Jim Jackson, another medicine show entertainer. Additionally, two other staples of the circuit, Frank Stokes and Papa Charlie Jackson, previously recorded "Take Me Back," updated by Harris as "Hot Time Blues." In all likelihood, these are mysteries which will never be solved -- his trail ends after this final session. ~ Jason Ankeny

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