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Experience Blues

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Album Review

The only serious flaw in this budget-line Blind Willie McTell collection is the first track's title, which should be "Georgia Rag" rather than "Willie McTell." Blind Willie McTell's entry in the Our World catalog contains 16 of his best performances dating from the years 1931-1933. Hopping from label to label during this period, McTell recorded as Blind Willie, Blind Sammie, Hot Shot Willie, and Georgia Bill. He sings while working over his 12-string guitar alone, in duet with guitarist Curley Weaver ("Georgia Rag"), and in harmony with his wife, Ruth Kate McTell, identified as Ruth Day ("Experience Blues"). While this affordably priced sampler will suffice if nothing else by McTell is readily available, many better editions do exist and might well be preferable. The grossly misidentified first track undermines the credibility of the producers while lowering the value of the album as a whole.


Born: 05 May 1901 in Thomson, GA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s

Willie Samuel McTell was one of the blues' greatest guitarists, and also one of the finest singers ever to work in blues. A major figure with a local following in Atlanta from the 1920s onward, he recorded dozens of sides throughout the '30s under a multitude of names -- all the better to juggle "exclusive" relationships with many different record labels at once -- including Blind Willie, Blind Sammie, Hot Shot Willie, and Georgia Bill, as a backup musician to Ruth Mary Willis. And those may not...
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