b. 12 March 1896, Jonesboro, Georgia, USA, d. 29 January 1976, Oakland, California, USA. A veteran of tent shows, Fuller fashioned himself a unique one-man band of six-string bass (played with his right foot), a combination of kazoo, harmonica and microphone fixed to a harness around his neck, a hi-hat cymbal (played with the left foot) and a 12-string guitar. Fuller was also known for preceding many of his songs with a spoken intro. He came to fame in the late 50s as a result of appearances on US television, where he followed Ramblin’ Jack Elliot’s lionization via his recording of ‘San Francisco Bay Blues’. In the 50s he made three albums of original and traditional material and by the mid-60s became a darling of the ‘coffee-house circuit’ after Bob Dylan cited him as one of his influences. Similar success followed in the UK resulting from Donovan’s performance of ‘San Francisco Bay Blues’ on UK Independent Television’s Ready, Steady, Go! music show in 1965. Although Fuller’s output was meagre, his influence has been considerable. Eric Clapton provoked renewed interest with an excellent version of ‘San Francisco Bay Blues’ on his MTV Unplugged album in 1992. Original Blues Classics have reissued his albums on CD with the original covers. Although often repetitive his originality is irresistible.
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