Guitarist and singer Jesse Wadley recorded five tracks ("Alabama Prison Blues," "St. James Infirmary," and three takes of "Do It in Weldon Yards") for John Lomax at Bellwood Prison in Atlanta, GA, on December 11, 1934. Of particular interest is Wadley's personalized blues song, "Alabama Prison Blues," which appears to be offhand and improvised, but sports a jaunty guitar line and carefully considered lyrics. Lomax had apparently asked Wadley to sing him a song that explained how the singer ended up in prison, and "Alabama Prison Blues" was the result. The fact that Wadley was in prison in Georgia and the song details how he ended up in prison in Alabama hints that perhaps the bluesman had seen his share of previous incarcerations.
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