Statesboro Blues is the title of three different compilations of early recordings by William Samuel "Blind Willie" McTell (1901-1959). Indigo brought out a 22-title disc in 1995, Blackbird issued a 17-track sampler in 2003, and Document blew away the competition in 2005 with a massive set containing no less than 74 selections. All three reach back to October 18, 1927; Blackbird only makes it to February 22, 1932 while Indigo and Document achieve the same finishing line of April 25, 1935. Indigo's offering might be the best choice for those who simply want to get acquainted with this fine Georgia bluesman and his distinctive approach to singing, playing guitar with awesome facility, and running a steady line of witty spoken commentary. Indigo represents McTell's legacy with a well-rounded mixture of hot raggy stomps and sanguine reflective blues. Some of these tunes feature backup vocals and friendly remarks by women identified as Ruby Glaze (who also played guitar) and Willie's wife Kate McTell. While other labels have assembled larger, more comprehensive anthologies, Indigo's Statesboro Blues conveys enough of the "essence" of young Blind Willie McTell's blues artistry to warrant the presence of that highly suspect word "essential".
Share this page
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf