by John Jackson
Released: Jun 2010
Label: Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Slurring through gravel low in his throat yet coming off as smooth as butter, sounding a bit sleepy until he speeds up tunes midway through, finger-picking in circular patterns relaxed and rhythmic, occasionally scatting, this late North Virginia folk bluesman shows off his stylistic range on 20 songs recorded from 1970 to 1997, when he was between 46 and 73. There's one spiritual, one hillbilly banjo reel, a couple ragtimey instrumentals; a few titles each from Blind Blake and Blind Boy Fuller. The pinnacle, a No. 1 country hit for Tom T. Hall in 1971, is about an old bluesman who dies.