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Casey Bill Weldon Vol. 3 1937-1938

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Album Review

In 1994, Document reissued 75 recordings by steel guitarist Casey Bill Weldon as his Complete Recorded Works, concentrating mostly upon titles originally released under his name. The third and final volume in this unprecedented series contains his last Vocalions, followed by his final Bluebird sides. Some of these (tracks 1-6 and 20-21) were issued as by Casey Bill Weldon & His Orchestra. In addition to two clarinetists (one of whom was Weldon's chum Arnett Nelson), an unidentified tenor saxophonist is audible on "Give Me Another Shot." Most of these records, however, were cut by Weldon's standard combo of steel guitar backed by string bass and piano, with an occasional second guitarist popping up here and there. On "Walkin' in My Sleep" and two takes of "Guitar Swing," Weldon sings with a vocal group named the Brown Bombers of Swing. If Weldon's blend of blues, country, and swing has confused legions of pigeonholing critics who expected African American musicians to sound a certain way, the mix on this collection is toe-tapping, laid-back, and very entertaining. Weldon was an exceptionally skilled guitarist, and "Guitar Swing" really enables him to demonstrate his steely chops. This segment of his discography is particularly rich in examples of the honky tonk, country dance, and Western swing element that distinguished Weldon from so many of his contemporaries. In addition to the titles already mentioned, they are "Sales Lady," "You Shouldn't Do That," "Go Ahead, Buddy," "Red Hot Blues," "New Round and Round," "I Believe You're Cheatin' on Me," and "You Gotta Do Your Duty." The rest of the tunes are blues that resonate beautifully with the haunting tonalities of Weldon's steel guitar, which gave off a much different sound than the standard bottleneck slide guitar associated with much of the blues recorded during this time period. Weldon's sound was unique and his collected works are well worth investigating in depth.


Born: 10 July 1909 in Pine Bluff, AR

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '30s

Steel guitarist Will Weldon is remembered as Casey Bill Weldon, and was also known in his time as Kansas City Bill and Levee Joe. "Casey", like "KC" or "Kaycee," referred to his links with the Kansas City music scene, although he could just as easily have been named after Pine Bluff, AK where he was born in 1909, or Atlanta or Memphis where he made his first recordings in 1927 after performing in medicine shows throughout the south. Inspired directly by the great Peetie Wheatstraw, Weldon was equally...
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Casey Bill Weldon Vol. 3 1937-1938, Casey Bill Weldon
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