Category Archives: Blind Willie Mc Tell

Blind Willie Mc Tell – The Georgia blues documentary

Blind Willie Mc Tell – The Georgia blues documentary

David Fulmer made for Georgia Public Television a beautiful documentary about the life of bluesman Blind Willie Mc Tell. This documentary shows how blues music grew out of a desire for better jobs and a better life, how the guitar became a popular instrument and found its way into black hands. It shows how Willie Mc Tell heard the blues for the first time when he moved to Statesboro with his mother and how the blues gave him a life and legacy.

Blind Willie Mc Tell Ragtime Blues from Georgia

Fulmer explains that Blind Willie was the son of Eddie Mc Tier a gambler and moonshiner born in Thomson Georgia. Mc Tier wasn’t much of a father or an influence for Willie as a Bluesman. When Willie and his mother moved to Statesboro and heard that blues, he picked up the guitar and played it like a piano using a bass-rhythm and a melody. It is the Boom – Chick, Boom – Chick rhythm of a dance beat and a melody we know from a honky-tonk piano in the bar.

It is the Ragtime Blues Mc Tell learned in Statesboro. He ran off with the medicine show in Georgia to travel around and play the ragtime blues. He was a real talent and no one could reflect Atlanta’s patchwork energy like Willie Mc Tell. Ragtime is a great style of blues and unlike the delta blues a more melodic and harmonious style. You could hear it a lot on the East Coast in states like Georgia and the Carolinas.

Learning the Blues in Atlanta

In the mid twenties, when Blind Willie Mc Tell’s mother died he really went on his own. For a while he put down his guitar to make moonshine. But soon Mc Tell moved to Atlanta, a city where he could play the blues. The Georgia Rag! Atlanta was the biggest metropolis in the region. Atlanta became a place where entertainment centered and was a recording center for blues and country artist like Fred mc Mullin and Hot Shot Willie Mc Tell.

Atlanta is a great city and was the place where Blind Willie Mc Tell his dreams could grow, but it was also a place with a lot of racism during those days. The Klu Klux Klan was feeding on the fear of whites and they entered city hall. Blacks were forced into the ghetto’s of the city. But even in those roaring 20s Blind Willie Mc Tell kept playing blues. And in 1927 Blind Willie Mc Tell released his first recording at victor records. It would be the start of a marathon through different record labels like Okeh.

Blind Willie Mc Tell was influenced by other bluesman like Blind Blake and he also borrowed from Blind Boy Fuller and from Charlie Patton. But Willie never copied. He was a musician you would think he wrote his own music.

“He was the bob Dylan of his day. Mc Tell played very few covers like other blues musicians did.”

photo credit: Blind Willie McTell – Trying To Get Home #blues #vinyl #music #LP #bw #1949 via photopin (license)

This video was created by David Fulmer for Georgia Public Television (year unknown) and is a part of the South Georgia Folklife Collection at Valdosta State University Archives and Special Collections. This video has been uploaded for educational purposes only.

‘Delia’ BLIND WILLIE McTELL

Blind Willie McTell- Last Session (Vinyl LP)

‘Kill-It-Kid Rag’ – BLIND WILLIE McTELL

‘Will Fox’ – BLIND WILLIE McTELL (1940)

Baby It Must Be Love : Blind Willie Mctell

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Jack White on inspiration Son House

Jack White on inspiration Son House

We all know Jack White as a member of The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and the Dead Weather, but this guitarist and songwriter is also a great blues enthusiast which resulted in covering some of the greatest bluesman like Son House, Robert Johnson and Blind Willie Mc Tell over the years.

Grinnin’ In Your Face

In the documentary It Might Get Loud (2008) by Davis Guggenheim about the electric guitar White tells about his favorite song: “Grinnin’ in your Face” by Son House. Grinnin’ in your Face is like John The Relevater a non instrumental song. White earlier covered Son House song Death Letter. Watch White explain the magic of this song here:

Find out more about Jack’s White’s blues influenced on RollingStone Magazine. In 15 of Jack White’s Biggest Influences they recall that “Jack White specializes in updating old sounds and vintage vibes into a post-modern blues-rock pastiche”.

Third Man Records

White founded his own record label Third Man Records in 2009, a label that houses several musicians including Wanda Jackson and Jerry Lee Lewis.

It Might Get Loud

Watch the full documentary It Might Get Loud featuring Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White here:

It Might Get Loud(1) from Andres Bierheart on Vimeo.

Jack White – Fly Farm Blues (It Might Get Loud)

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Blind Willie McTell blues blog

Well, I heard that hoot owl singing, As they were taking down the tents The stars above the barren trees, Were his only audience. Them charcoal gypsy maidens can strut their feathers  Well. But nobody can sing the blues Like Blind Willie McTell

– Bob Dylan – 

Blind Willie McTell

The famous Blind Willie Mc Tell song  Mamma, Let Me Scoop for You. recorded in 1932. Blues blog Willie, the groovy, delta singer. (born William Samuel McTier May 5, 1898 – August 19, 1959).

Blind Sammie of Hot shot Willie is known for his fingerstyle blues. You can also call it Piedmont blues, a guitar style to play the blues. It is the eastcoast blues. Blind Willie played it, using his thumb to play the bass.

 

Blind Willie’s Nicknames

For those interested? Willy had a Whole lot of Nicknames: Barrelhouse Sammy (The Country Boy), Blind Doogie, Blind Sammie, Blind Willie, Georgia Bill, Red Hot Willie (Glaze), Hot Shot Willie, Pig ‘n’ Whistle Red.

Bob Dylan Tribute to Blind Willie Mc Tell

Bob Dylan Made a great song about blind Willy Mc Tell. I think it is a fantastic Tribute. You know what I mean, read the last lines.

Lyrics Blog Blind Willie mc tell

Seen the arrow on the doorpost

Blind_Willie_McTell_US goverment igital ID ppmsc 00400
Blind_Willie_McTell_US goverment igital ID ppmsc 00400

Saying, “This land is condemned
All the way from New Orleans
To Jerusalem”
I traveled through East Texas
Where many martyrs fell
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Well, I heard that hoot owl singing
As they were taking down the tents
The stars above the barren trees
Were his only audience
Them charcoal gypsy maidens
Can strut their feathers well
But nobody can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Continue reading Blind Willie McTell blues blog

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