Ed Bell “Mamlish Blues” 1927-1930
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Ed Bell (Barefoot Bill / Sluefoot Joe) & Pillie Bolling
Complete Recorded Works (1927 1930)
Featuring the recordings of:
Ed Bell, vocal / guitar. Sluefoot Joe (prob. Ed Bell), vocal; accompanied by own guitar on 6, 7; Clifford Gibson, guitar (except on 6, 7); prob. Clifford Gibson, piano on 7. Barefoot Bill from Alabama (probabaly Ed Bell), vocal / guitar. Pillie Bolling And Barefoot Bill: Pillie Bolling, vocal / guitar; Barefoot Bill vocal / guitar. Barefoot Bill (prob. Ed Bell), vocal / guitar. Ed Bell, vocal; accompanied by Barefoot Bill, guitar. Pillie Bolling, vocal / guitar.
Genres: Blues, Country Blues, Alabama Blues, Country Blues Guitar, Blues Piano
Abridged from this albums original booklet notes. Ed Bell was born in May 1905, in Fort Deposit, Alabama, on the Davis Plantation. He was the third of seven children. In the early 1920s, Bell did a little farming and a lot of playing and travelling, honing his technique with a small group of seven to ten friends and acquaintances, of which only he and Pillie Bolling were recorded. Exactly how Bell came to be recorded is uncertain, but he made his first session for Paramount in 1927, which resulted in four issued titles, some of the finest country blues ever recorded. His next session was for QRS in 1929, where he was teamed with Clifford Gibson, and although there is no direct evidence, it is generally accepted now that Sluefoot Joe is Ed Bell. A carefully reasoned account for these judgments is given in Don Kents inside notes to Mamlish S-3811, which also presents the direct evidence that Barefoot Bill (the name used for the Nov. 1929 and April 1930 sessions) is also Ed Bell. Columbia 14481 was a relative hit, with a pressing of over 5000, but the number of copies Columbia pressed diminished regularly to 1500, then 790, and finally 650 copies pressed for his last issue, Co 14595. The writing was clearly on the wall for the music business, but during the 1920s he had a classic blues career, becoming a distinctive entertainer who travelled to such place as Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Toledo, and Youngstown to play, and Atlanta, Chicago and New York to record. Already during this first half of his life he had moved far from his origins at the plantation and the traditional farmwork associated with it, almost exclusively on the basis of his musical talent. Bells latest career has not as yet been as rigorously documented as has his musical one. Bells half-sister or perhaps baby sister, Pauline Porterfield, was interviewed by a friend of mine in Pittsburgh. When asked, she stated that Ed got tired of the blues and began a career in the Baptist Church. It is in his career as a reverend and circuit-rider that Bell is remembered among the younger citizenry of Butler County. Pauline was quite proud of him eventually becoming Moderator of the Southern District, a high and respected church office. He apparently died in 1966, but perhaps the records of the Baptist Church will prove fruitful to future researchers trying to find the official Ed Bell. At least we have the essence of Ed Bell the musician.Roger Misiewicz Copyright 1992 Document Records