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The Traditional Delta and Country Blues

Last Session by Blind Willie McTell

Label: Prestige Bluesville Records.
Release Date: 1960.
Recording Time: 32 minutes.
Recording Date: September, 1956.
Release Info: Studio Recording.
Recording information: Atlanta, GA (09/1956).
Releases: 1961 (Prestige Bluesville), 1966 (Transatlantic Records), 1972 (Prestige Bluesville), 1982 (Prestige), 1987 (Original Blues Classics / Prestige Bluesville), 1992 (Original Blues Classics), 1993 (Ace), 2007 (Concord / Umc (Universal Catalogue).

Styles: Acoustic Blues, Country Blues, East Coast Blues, Piedmont Blues, Pre-War Country Blues, Regional Blues.

This recording has a less-than-stellar reputation, principally because it was done so late in McTell's career, and it is true that he lacks some of the edge, especially in his singing, that he showed on his other postwar recordings. On the other hand, his 12-string playing is about as nimble as ever and a real treat. McTell cut these sides for record store owner Ed Rhodes, who had begun taping local bluesmen at his shop in Atlanta in the hope of releasing some of it -- McTell took to the idea of recording only slowly, then turned up one night and played for the microphone and anyone who happened to be listening, finishing a pint of bourbon in the process -- the result was a pricelessly intimate document, some of the words slurred here and there, but brilliantly expressive and stunningly played. No apologies are needed for "The Dyin' Crapshooter's Blues," "Don't Forget It," or "Salty Dog," however. McTell lived a few more years but never recorded again, which is a pity because based on this tape he still had a lot to show people. Rhodes never did anything with the tapes, and might've junked them if he hadn't remembered how important the McTell material was -- they turned out to be the only tapes he saved, out of all he'd recorded.
by Bruce Eder

Notes: Early 1960s version. Dark blue Prestige label with silver text & trident.

Liner Note Authors: Dr. David Evans; Samuel Charters.
Personnel: Blind Willie McTell (vocals, guitar, 12-string guitar).
Audio Remasterer: Phil DeLancie.

Credits: Gary Atkinson - composer; Samuel Charters - liner notes, producer; Phil DeLancie - remastering; Dr. David Evans - liner notes; Kenneth S. Goldstein - producer; Papa Charlie Jackson - composer; Blind Willie McTell - composer, guitar, guitar (12 string), primary artist, vocals; Nick Perls - cover art, mastering; Edward Rhodes - engineer; Don Schlitten - design; Traditional - composer; Robert Vosgien - digital mastering.

Tracks: 1) Baby It Must Be Love; 2) The Dyin' Crapshooter's Blues; 3) Don't Forget It; 4) Kill It Kid; 5) That Will Never Happen No More; 6) Goodbye Blues; 7) Salty Dog; 8) Early Life; 9) Beedle Um Bum; 10) A Married Man's A Fool; 11) A To Z Blues; 12) Wabash Cannonball; 13) Pal Of Mine; 14) Kill It Kid (Bonus Track 1992); 15) Broke Down Engine Blues (Bonus Track 1992).