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Roots of Blues -- Blind Boy Fuller „Pistol Slapper Blues"

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Uploaded on Jul 16, 2008

„Pistol Slapper Blues"
(Fuller)

Recorded:
New York City, April 05, 1938
Blind Boy Fuller (vcl) (g), Sonny Terry (h)

Blind Boy Fuller (born Fulton Allen) (July 10, 1907[1] - February 13, 1941) was an American blues guitarist and vocalist. He was one of the most popular of the recorded Piedmont blues artists with rural Black Americans, a group that also included Blind Blake, Josh White, and Buddy Moss.
Fulton Allen was born in Wadesboro, North Carolina to Calvin Allen and Mary Jane Walker. He was one of a family of 10 children, but after his mother's death he moved with his father to Rockingham. As a boy he learned to play the guitar and also learned from older singers the field hollers, country rags, and traditional songs and blues popular in poor, rural areas.
He married Cora Allen young and worked as a labourer, but began to lose his eyesight in his mid-teens. According to researcher Bruce Bastin, "While he was living in Rockingham he began to have trouble with his eyes. He went to see a doctor in Charlotte who allegedly told him that he had ulcers behind his eyes, the original damage having been caused by some form of snow-blindness". However, there is an alternative story that he was blinded by an ex-girlfriend who threw chemicals in his face.
By 1928 he was completely blind, and turned to whatever employment he could find as a singer and entertainer, often playing in the streets. By studying the records of country blues players like Blind Blake and the "live" playing of Gary Davis, Allen became a formidable guitarist, and played on street corners and at house parties in Winston-Salem, Danville, and then Durham, North Carolina. In Durham, playing around the tobacco warehouses, he developed a local following which included guitarists Floyd Council and Richard Trice, as well as harmonica player Saunders Terrell, better known as Sonny Terry and washboard player/guitarist George Washington.

Saunders Terrell, better known as Sonny Terry (24 October 1911, Greensboro, North Carolina - 11 March 1986, Mineola, New York was a blind blues musician. He was most widely known for his energetic blues harmonica style, which frequently included vocal whoops and hollers, and imitations of trains and fox hunts. He was also an accomplished Jews harp player.
His father, a farmer, taught him to play basic blues harp as a youth. He sustained injuries to his eyes and lost his sight by the time he was 16, which prevented him from doing farm work himself. In order to earn a living Terry was forced to play music. He began playing in Shelby, North Carolina. After his father died he began playing in the trio of Piedmont-style guitarist Blind Boy Fuller. When Fuller died, he established a long-standing musical relationship with Brownie McGhee, and the pair recorded numerous tracks together. The duo became well-known, even among white audiences, as they joined the growing folk movement of the 1950s and 1960s. This included collaborations with Woody Guthrie and Moses Asch, producing Folkways Records (now Smithsonian/Folkways) classic recordings.

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