King Solomon Hill

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One of the more fascinating footnotes in blues history, King Solomon Hill's scant recorded legacy suggests a singer and guitarist of considerable originality and primitive force. Born Joe Holmes circa…
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One of the more fascinating footnotes in blues history, King Solomon Hill's scant recorded legacy suggests a singer and guitarist of considerable originality and primitive force. Born Joe Holmes circa 1897 in McComb, Mississippi, he first attracted attention in the Lousiana area, becoming a constant at parties and juke joints; most certainly a self-taught guitarist, he is rumored to have roamed the Delta and Panhandle regions playing alongside Sam Collins, Ramblin' Thomas, Oscar "Lone Wolf" Woods and possibly Blind Lemon Jefferson. Hill signed to the Paramount label in 1932, soon travelling to Grafton, Wisconsin to record the six tracks -- two of them alternate takes -- which comprise his known discography; songs like the eerie "Gone Dead Train" and "Down on Bended Knee" feature apocalyptic, seemingly alien vocals certainly unique to their time and place, accompanied by a raw guitar sound distinguished by irregular rhythms and notes said to be stretched out by a cow bone. After this lone session, Hill returned to the juke joint circuit, eventually vanishing from sight; reputedly a heavy drinker, he died of a massive brain hemorrhage in Sibley, Lousiana in 1949.