Monthly Archives: December 2010

The Atlanta Bluesmen: Setting The Stage, 1910s-1924

During the Roaring Twenties, Atlanta, Georgia, was home to a thriving community of bluesmen whose styles were as just distinctive as those of their counterparts in Texas and Mississippi, Memphis and Chicago. Peg Leg Howell and His Gang specialized in countrified juke music set to guitar and violin. Barbecue Bob, who became Columbia Records’ best-selling bluesman, framed his songs with zesty bass runs and rhythmic slide played on a 12-string guitar. His older brother Laughing Charley Lincoln was a less flashy 12-stringer whose dark personality belied the “laughing” shtick on his 78s. Their childhood friend Curley Weaver expertly played 6-string slide guitar as well as the old-time frailing and more recent fingerpicked, ragtime-based “Piedmont” styles. Their associate Buddy Moss, a talented harmonica player and guitarist who came to commercial prominence in the early-to-mid 1930s, drew from their sound, as well as what he’d learned from records by Blind Blake and others. Blind Willie McTell, truly in a class of his own, blended religious material, ragtime, and country blues, emerging as one of the greatest bluesmen of any era. Continue reading