Peg Leg Howell & Eddie Anthony Vol. 1 (1926-1928)
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A little-known but nonetheless remarkable performer, Georgia guitarist and singer Joshua “Peg Leg” Howell recorded some of the most vibrant black music of the prewar era. A farmhand in his younger days, Howell was forced to make his living as an itinerant musician after losing his leg in a hunting accident at the age of 28. Around 1917 he left his provincial home in Putnam County, Ga., to seek paying gigs in Atlanta, and there he met his musical match and lifelong partner in the form of Eddie Anthony, a ragged but unfailingly inspired fiddler whose slurred cadences and dissonant tonalities immediately set him apart from the general run of string-band fiddlers. The duo honed their art on the Atlanta streets for nearly a decade before cutting their first session in 1926. Over the next four years they recorded a score of songs, which are compiled here. All are vibrant, pulse-pounding evocations of African-American life in Atlanta in the ‘20s and ‘30s.