Today is the birthday of Blind Willie McTell (William McTier, 1898-1959). Originally from Georgia, he was an exponent of the Piedmont style of blues picking. Blind in one eye since birth, he lost the use of his other eye in childhood. This remarkable performer’s recording career lasted from 1927 to 1956. McTell was a major influence on Bob Dylan who paid tribute to him many a time by covering his songs and on one occasion naming an original song after him (1983). Here’s one of McTell’s best known tunes, “Statesboro Blues” which was famously covered by the Allman Brothers
To find out more about the variety arts past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
And don’t miss my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc