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Roots of Blues -- Blind Willie McTell „Savannah Mama"

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Published on Jul 18, 2008

„Savannah Mama"
(Mc Tell)

Aufnahme: New York, September 18, 1933
Blind Willie McTell (g)(vcl), Curley Weaver (g)

William Samuel McTell, better known as Blind Willie McTell (May 5, 1898 (sometimes reported as 1901) -- August 19, 1959), was an influential American blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist. He was a twelve-string finger picking Piedmont blues guitarist, and recorded 149 songs between 1927 and 1956.
Born William Samuel McTier in Thomson, Georgia, blind in one eye, McTell had lost his remaining vision by late childhood, but became an adept reader of Braille. He showed an inherent proficiency in music from an early age and learned to play the six-string guitar as soon as he could. His father left the family when McTell was still young, so when his mother died in the 1920s, he left his hometown and became a wandering busker. He began his recording career in 1927 for Victor Records in Atlanta.
In the years before World War II, he traveled and performed widely, recording for a number of labels under a different name for each one, including Blind Willie McTell (Victor and Decca), Blind Sammie (Columbia), Georgia Bill (Okeh), Hot Shot Willie (Victor), Blind Willie (Vocalion), Red Hot Willie Glaze (Bluebird), Barrelhouse Sammie (Atlantic) and Pig & Whistle Red (Regal). His style was singular: a form of country blues, bridging the gap between the raw blues of the early part of the 20th Century and the more refined East Coast "Piedmont" sound. He took on the less common and more unwieldy 12-string guitar because of its volume. The style is well documented on John Lomax's 1940 recordings of McTell for the Library of Congress, for which McTell earned ten dollars.
In 1934, he married Ruthy Kate Williams (now better known as Kate McTell). She accompanied him on stage and on several recordings, before becoming a nurse in 1939. Most of their marriage from 1942 until his death was spent apart, with her living in Fort Gordon near Augusta, and him working around Atlanta.
Post-war, he recorded for Atlantic Records and Regal Records in 1949, but these recordings met with less commercial success than his previous works. He continued to perform around Atlanta, but his career was cut short by ill health, predominantly diabetes and alcoholism.
In 1956, an Atlanta record store manager, Edward Rhodes, discovered McTell playing in the street for quarters and enticed him into his store with a bottle of corn liquor, where he captured a few final performances on a tape recorder. These were released posthumously on Prestige/Bluesville Records as Blind Willie McTell's Last Session.
McTell died in Milledgeville, Georgia of a stroke in 1959.

  • Category

  • Song

  • Artist

    • Blind Willie
  • Album

    • THE DEFINITIVE BLIND WILLIE McTELL
  • Licensed to YouTube by

    • SME (on behalf of Legacy/Columbia); UNIAO BRASILEIRA DE EDITORAS DE MUSICA - UBEM, Peermusic, Sony ATV Publishing, LatinAutor - PeerMusic, LatinAutor, and 1 Music Rights Societies

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