Curley Weaver

Biography

Curley James Weaver, was an American blues musician. He was born on 25th March 1906 in Covington, Georgia USA. He died 20th September 1962 in Almon, Georgia, USA. He was the Father to Cora Mae Bryant.

Genres

Country Blues, Georgia Blues, Atlanta Blues, Country Blues Guitar, Bottleneck-slide Guitar, 12-string Guitar. Blues Harmonica.

History and Associates

Abridged from DOCD-5111 album’s original booklet notes. Of all the famous bluesmen associated with the so called ‘Atlanta School’ none, with the exception of the unique Blind Willie McTell, enjoyed a longer career on record than Curley Weaver. His often humorous vocals and fluid guitar work first appeared on the Columbia label in 1928 and he was still going strong in the early 1950s. He was born in Newton County, the scene of some early research undertaken by Howard W. Odum around the time of Curley’s birth and his findings seem to indicate that the area was particularly rich in its musical traditions. James, was the son of a well-respected pianist and guitarist, Savannah Shepard, known as “Dip” to her contemporaries. She played piano in her church and was considered to be sufficiently proficient on the guitar as to contribute to the musical education of her friends Mary and Charlie Hicks’ two sons – later to gain fame as Barbecue Bob and Laughing Charlie Lincoln. The Hicks boys were a few years older than Curley Weaver but along with him and the Harmonica player Eddie Mapp they formed a musical unit that was still remembered in Newton nearly 60 years later.

Following the trend that was developing all across the south the Hicks boys took their talent to the big city – in this case Atlanta, only some 25 miles away – and Curley was only 19 when he followed them in around 1925. There he became a member of the loose group that formed the Atlanta blues scene and included such luminaries as Blind Wllie McTell, The Hicks brothers, Eddie Anthony and Eddie Mapp, his easy going personality making him a cornerstone of the group much prized for his abilities as an accompanist as well as a performer in his own right. In 1928 Bob Hicks took Curley along to a recording session for Columbia where Curley cut two sides under his own name, one No No Blues markedly in the style associated with Barbecue Bob. (These sides appear on the companion volume to this set: Georgia Blues, DOCD-5110.) His next appearance in a recording studio was for the QRS label in 1929 and he continued to record throughout the 1930s. Cutting for QRS, Okeh, ARC and Decca. After the tragic deaths of Eddie Mapp, who was murdered and died in the street, and Barbecue Bob Hicks and the breakdown and incarceration of Laughing Charlie Lincoln, Curley continued as the long-time associate of Blind Willie McTell and worked with performers such as the gifted but mysterious Fred McMullen, who may have hailed from Macon, and the younger Buddy Moss. He supplied backings for Ruth Willis and Lillie Mae and was a member of the recording groups known as The Georgia Browns and The Georgia Cotton Pickers.

Keith Briggs Copyright 1992 & 2008 Document Records

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