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The Traditional Delta and Country Blues

Buddy Burton

W. E. (Buddy) Burton, active 1920s - 1930s.
Evans Burton Jr., b. February, 1890 in Louisville, KY, d. July 6, 1977 in Louisville, KY, multi-instrumentalist and band leader who appeared on many 1920s Chicago South Side jazz and Blues 78 rpm Phonograph records as vocalist and drummer, and also played washboard, piano, celeste, and kazoo. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky and went to Chicago around 1922. He first recorded with Jelly Roll Morton and sessions that were led by Jimmy Blythe. Burton released five sides under his own name in 1928, six sides with Marcus Norman (as "Alabama Jim And George" which some experts have listed as being made with Bob Hudson, although Norman is credited with co-writing), two sides as a duo with Blythe and one with Irene Sanders. He also backed blues singers Tillie Johnson and Mae Mathews, and played with the Dixie Four and The Harlem Trio. Other than five numbers in 1929, duets with pianist Bob Hudson in 1932, and the duet with Sanders in 1936, little is known about Burton's life after the mid-thirties although he was probably somewhat active. It is reported that he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.


by Scott Yanow
A talented if generally overlooked pianist, Buddy Burton also played organ, drums, and percussion, as well as kazoo. After freelancing both in and out of music, Burton moved from Louisville to Chicago in 1923. He recorded on drums (1923) and kazoo (1925) with Jelly Roll Morton, and in 1928 did the bulk of his recordings including as a soloist (both singing and playing piano), in piano duets with Jimmy Blythe; backing blues singers Tillie Johnson and Mae Mathews; and playing with the Dixie Four and the Harlem Trio. Other than two numbers in 1929, duets with pianist Bob Hudson in 1932, and accompanying singer Irene Sanders in 1936, little is known of Burton's later life; except that he probably remained active (although off records) in Chicago for decades, until returning to Louisville in 1965.