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Published on Oct 31, 2008
A mandolin version of one of Blind Willie McTell's best songs. 'Nobody can sing the blues like Blind Willie McTell', said Bob Dylan. It's the kind thing that could be said about many blues originals, but you can guess what Dylan might mean. McTell's singing carries overtones - of wistfulness, of resignation, of cocky salaciousness - that distance him from a Son House or Blind Lemon Jefferson. This is the only song, recorded early in his career, that hints to the consequences of his blindness and it's full of strong and dark imagery.
The mandolin accompaniment does not reflect McTell's 12-string playing but owes a lot to players like Yank Rachell, Johnny Young or contemporary musicians like Steve James or Rich DelGrosso.
I'm playing a mandolin made by Daniel Brauchli, now living in Tasmania. He also made one of my lapslide guitars.