Release Date: 06/06/06
It's Great, Have Faith
During the 1930s and onto the 1950s, street musicians were common. In rural areas they followed a seasonal path - they were around just as the crops came in and workers had money. In cities they would play anywhere they could find a generous audience. Many of them restricted themselves to religious material. Most of these singers accompanied themselves on the guitar and had any combination of three reasons for singing for tips: they might blind; they might be escaping more arduous work; they might be true evangelists. Which combination applied to Blind Joe Taggart remains in doubt. Josh White said that Taggart wasn't totally blind. He also precludes any idea that Taggart was concerned for the souls of others. And it seems certain that he was not above singing blues if there was money in it. Gary Davis' main fame came later in life when he was catering to a mainly white blues audience. He was another complex character - probably the greatest working class African American guitarist who became the mentor and guitar guide to at least two generations of musicians, the first made up from his black contemporaries, and a later one composed of almost every young white guitarist who heard him play and managed to attend the 'school' that Davis set up in his house. Although intransigent, Davis was never the ogre that Taggart was and his many students remember him with much affection. Similarly, he was not averse to playing the blues. For all his mastery and skill Davis never made anything like the impact on the black record buying public that his acolyte Fuller achieved. This could be because after July of 1935, when he recorded two blues, he restricted his output to religious numbers. He was dissatisfied with his treatment by J.B. Long of ARC, the company involved, and after this extended session refused to make further recordings for them. Also featured here are singers like Gussie Nesbit, Willie Eason and Mother McCollum - less well-known, but no less compelling.
|Label: Jsp Records|
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