Georgia Blues – Complete Recorded Works (1928 – 1930)
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DOCD- 5110 Georgia Blues -Complete Recorded Works (1928 – 1930)
Featuring the recordings of:
Curley Weaver, vocal / guitar. Curley Weaver, vocal / guitar; Eddie Mapp, harmonica. Guy Lumpkin, guitar; Eddie Mapp, harmonica. Eddie Mapp, harmonica solo. Curley Weaver, vocal / guitar; Eddie Mapp, harmonica added on 7. Slim Barton, guitar (except on 10)/ vocal on 10; Eddie Mapp, harmonica (except on 12); James Moore, harmonica on 12 and 15. Curley Weaver, vocal / guitar. Eddie Mapp, James Moore, harmonica duet; accompanied by Guy Lumpkin, guitar. Curley Weaver And Clarence Moore, vocal duet; accompanied by Curley Weaver, guitar; unknown, 2nd guitar. Fred McMullen, vocal / guitar; Curley Weaver, guitar added on 19. Fred McMullen And Ruth Willis, vocal duet; acc. Fred McMullen, Curley Weaver, guitar. Ruth (Mary) Willis, vocal; accompanied by two of Fred McMullen, Buddy Moss, Curley Weaver, guitar. Fred McMullen And Curley Weaver, vocal / guitar duet. Fred McMullen, vocal / guitar; Curley Weaver, guitar.
Genres: Blues, Country Blues, Atlanta Blues, 12-string Guitar, Country Blues Guitar, Blues Guitar, Blues Harmonica, Country Blues Harmonica, Bottleneck-slide Guitar, Female Blues, Harmonica Solo
Abridged from this album’s original booklet notes. In the 1920s the city of Atlanta acted as a magnet, drawing it’s black population from the surrounding areas of rural Georgia. Prominent names on the roster of Atlanta blues are those of Blind Willie McTell, Barbecue Bob Hicks and Curley Weaver. James-Curley Weaver and the Hicks brothers; Barbecue Bob and Laughing Charlie Lincoln, were neighbours in Newton County, where the Hicks boys were taught guitar by Curley’s mother Savannah-Dip Shepard.
Although Curley could play in the same style as the brothers – and the mysterious Willie Baker – he took his own influences from a wide range of Newton county musicians, many of whom only became known to the public at large through the later researches of Bruce Bastin.
Another performer Curley met was the much respected harmonica player Eddie Mapp. This would appear to have been around 1922 and both the Hicks brothers and Mapp had moved into Atlanta before the younger, easy-going Curley followed in the late 1920s. It was, indeed, Robert-Barbecue Bob Hicks who brought Weaver to sessions being held by Columbia in 1929.
One of the two tracks Curley recorded was No No Blues on which he sounded almost like a third Hicks brother. It has been speculated that this similarity rendered him superfluous to Columbia’s requirements, whatever, the next time he appeared in a studio it was in Long Island City under the auspices of QRS where he was in the company of Eddie Mapp, guitarists Slim Barton and Guy Lumpkin and harp player Eddie Moore. In various combinations they worked their way through a series of recordings that have been compared with those of the later groupings The Georgia Browns and Georgia Cotton Pickers for verve and skill.
In late 1931 Eddie Mapp was found dead in the street, probably stabbed to death by a female acquaintance. He seemed to have fulfilled a role in Atlanta not unlike that of Noah Lewis in Memphis – premier harp man for the city – but like Lewis he had a short road to run.
Curley Weaver, though, was just at the beginning of a career that would stretch right into the post WWII period – the early part of which is surveyed on the companion album to this. January 1933 found him sharing a session with another mysterious performer, the versatile and skilful Fred McMullen (or McMullin, the company, ARC, used the first spelling on their labels but the second on their session sheets).
The Georgia musicians were famous for the variety of styles that they shared but even by their standards Fred McMullen was an oddity; he used a slide and was a fancy picker. Of his two most successful recordings one was a reworking of Tommy Johnson‘s Big Road Blues, probably filtered through the Mississippi Sheiks and re-titled Wait And Listen, while the other, the harrowing DeKaIb Chain Gang seems to have been based on personal experience. During the session he worked with Curley Weaver and Ruth Willis and as part of The Georgia Browns but he never recorded again.Keith Briggs Copyright 1992 & 2008 Document Records