Freddie Spruell (or Papa Freddie, as he is sometimes known) is often cited as the first performer to record an actual blues song, a claim that isn't exactly accurate. Spreull recorded ten tracks for OKeh, Paramount, and Bluebird between 1926 and 1935, but vaudeville-styled blues pieces like "Crazy Blues" by Mamie Smith appeared in 1920, while Blind Lemon Jefferson was recording the first hard blues tracks at least a year earlier, in 1925. Spreull could well be considered the first Delta blues performer to record, however, when he cut "Milk Cow Blues" in Chicago on June 25, 1926. He recorded two more sides in 1928, including "Tom Cat Blues," and five tracks (under the name Mr. Freddie) on April 12, 1935, a session that yielded perhaps his best song, the rag-inspired "Let's Go Riding," which featured second guitar from Carl Martin. Spreull's Social Security file indicates he was born on December 28, 1893, and although he is generally considered a Mississippi bluesman, it appears he moved to Chicago with his parents as a small boy, and his ties to the Delta are more stylistic than geographical. "Let's Go Riding" appeared on the Ghost World soundtrack in 2001.
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