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Blind Joe Taggart Vol. 2 (1929-1934)

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Album Review

Because guitar evangelist and periodic bluesman Blind Joe Taggart cut a few sides for Paramount with Josh White up in Grafton, WI during December 1929, some folks think that he may have also recorded for that label there and then as Six Cylinder Smith. Volume two of Document's complete Blind Joe Taggart chronology opens with a pair of titles issued under the Six Cylinder billing, along with a test pressing of "Pennsylvania Woman Blues," in case anyone really wants to zero in on the forensic evidence to make an informed guess as to the identity of the performer by comparing the blues vocals with those of Taggart's "Wonder Will My Trouble Then Be Over," "Strange Things Happening in the Land," and "Waded in the Water Trying to Get Home."

Waxed in Grafton in January 1931, tracks 7-12 would be Taggart's final Paramount sides, and represent his largest batch of solo performances on record. Curiously, he is billed on these Paramounts as Blind Joel Taggart, the name he would use on his final recording date which took place back in Chicago on Thursday, September 20, 1934. On these Decca records, Taggart chose to sing duets with a woman identified as Bertha Taggart. Whether this is the same woman as Emma Taggart who sang with Joe at his first session back in November 1926 is open to conjecture.

Having run out of Taggart material, the producers at Document Records filled out this album with choice cuts from 1930 by Christian singer and guitarist Blind Gussie Nesbitt and five inspired offerings recorded in 1927 and 1929 by Reverend Edward W. Clayborn, a fairly prolific Vocalion recording artist who was specifically billed as The Guitar Evangelist. As for Nesbitt, what are included here are four out of fourteen titles in her discography, not counting four duets she waxed for the Victor label with Jack Gowdlock in 1931. Taken in combination with the later works of Blind Joe Taggart, these spiritually inspired performances constitute a valuable addition to Document's extensive catalog of early and mid-20th century African-American music.


Genre: Blues

Years Active: '20s, '30s

If one ever ran into Blind Joe Taggart in a dark alley, the only possible protection would be to have Blind John Henry Arnold with you. According to the famous folk singer and blues artist Josh White, there was only one man on earth who was meaner than Taggart, and that was Arnold. White obviously knew what he was talking about, having been abused and kicked around by both men, as well as the even more famous Blind Lemon Jefferson. Back in the old days when blind blues virtuoso roamed the streets...
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Blind Joe Taggart Vol. 2 (1929-1934), Blind Joe Taggart
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