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The Traditional Delta and Country Blues

Lil McClintock

Lil McClintock was an country blues songster who accompanied himself on acoustic guitar. Not much is identifiable about McClintock's personal life, prior to or after recording four sides for Columbia Records; however, his material has been revived over the years and is prized among collectors. McClintock worked as a street performer in Clinton, SC before he was tasked by manager of Cooper's Furniture Store, Burm Lessie, with accompanying Blind Gussie Nesbitt, who was another local musician, to record for Columbia Records. Unbeknownst to Lessie, he first encountered McClintock in 1923 when he wrote a ballad about Delia Holmes, an individual who gained some media attention for being murdered in a casino in Georgia. McClintock was commonly referred to as "Lil", which is speculated to either be an abbreviation for little or to represent his tall and thin figure. After traveling by train, McClintock recorded a combination of two gospel numbers and two "coon songs" on December 4, 1930. The latter pair of compositions feature a musical subgenre that is seldom republished for its blatant racial and stereotypical implications toward black people. First among the pair was "Don't Think I'm Santa Claus", which has a refrain derived from minstrel shows, and a rudimentary banjo-inspired accompaniment. Another song, "Furniture Man" is played in a similar style, directly referring to black people as "coons", and advertising Cooper's Furniture Store in the process. Keeping with the minstrel-influenced qualities, McClintock addresses himself as "Mr. Brown" throughout the number. Both McClintock's and Nesbitt's recordings were issued on 750 copies correspondingly in June 1931, though McClintock fared better as all four of his sides were officially released. Following the recording session, McClintock completely disappeared from any documentation. His records have become some of the rarest and sought after items among collectors, with any surviving issues being in pristine condition. In 1986, all of his recordings appeared on the compilation album Atlanta Blues 1927 - 30: The Complete Recordings in Chronological Order of Julius Daniels and Lil McClintock, which paired McClintock's material with guitarist Julius Daniels'.