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Bill Gaither Vol. 3 1938-1939

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Album Review

In 1991, 18 recordings by Bill Gaither dating from 1935-1941 were reissued on the Story of the Blues label, marking this overlooked blues guitarist's very first appearance on compact disc. Whereas Document would take on Gaither's every known recording within a few years of this release, the initial sampler on Story of the Blues provides a good introduction to his style and technique. "Naptown Stomp," which is a cousin to a 1929 boogie-woogie record by pianist Herve Duerson, refers to what would have been called the colored section of Indianapolis, IN. With its title slightly altered, "I Can Drink Muddy Water" is easily recognizable as Eddie Miller's often-interpreted "I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water (Sleep in a Hollow Log)," a bitter tune that fits well with much of Gaither's personal repertoire, and "You Done Ranked Yourself with Me," which is echoed in salty titles like "You Done Lost Your Swing," "You Done Showed Your D.B.A.," "I'm Wise to Your Sweet Little Line of Jive," and "Tired of That Same Stuff All the Time." With Gaither's cover of Big Maceo Merriweather's "Worried Life Blues" perched at the end of the playlist, this is a fine little introduction to one of the great unsung Midwestern bluesmen of the pre-WWII era.


Born: 21 April 1910 in Belmont, KY

Genre: Blues

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

Blues guitarist Bill Gaither cut well over a hundred sides for Decca and OKeh between 1931 and 1941. Gaither was close to the blues pianist Leroy Carr, and following Carr's death in 1935, he recorded as Leroy's Buddy for a time. A fine guitarist who possessed a warm, expressive voice, Gaither was also at times a gifted and inventive lyricist. He was often partnered with pianist George "Honey" Hill, and the duo patterned themselves after Carr and his guitarist, Scrapper Blackwell. Among Gaither's...
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Bill Gaither Vol. 3 1938-1939, Bill Gaither
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