Statesboro Blues

Blind Willie McTell

Unusual Piedmont Blues

“Statesboro Blues,” as recorded in 1927 by Blind Willie McTell.

Blind Willie McTell was born blind in 1898 in the town of Thomson, Georgia. His father left the family when he was still young, and when his mother died in early the 1920s, he left his hometown and became a wandering musician. As a Piedmont and ragtime blues singer and guitarist he played with a fluid, syncopated finger style technique, although he used a twelve-string guitar exclusively unlike his contemporaries. His vocal style, a smooth and often laid-back tenor, differed greatly from many of the harsher voice types employed by Delta bluesmen. He began his recording career in 1927 for Victor Records in Atlanta. One of McTell’s most famous songs, “Statesboro Blues,” has been frequently covered by The Allman Brothers Band and is considered one of their earliest signature songs. Other artists to cover the song include Taj Mahal, David Bromberg.

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