Blind Willie McTell

Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3 (1933-1935)

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Blind Willie McTell's final pre-war sessions are the subject of the third and last disc in Document's series. The set begins with a September 1933 session covering a wide range of stylistic ground, ranging from the songster staple "Honey Fare Thee Well" (covered here as "East St. Louis Blues") to Bumble Bee Slim's "B and O Blues"; most remarkable is "Bell Street Lightnin'," a gripping and vivid portrait of Depression-era life at its most tragic. The final dates, from April 1935, comprise McTell's material for Decca, recorded with wife Kate and guitarist Curley Weaver; assembled in large part of gospel material, they also include "Hillbilly Willie's Blues," an overt and hugely entertaining attempt to appeal to the Southern white listening audience.

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