visit "These Blues Is Meant To Be Barrelhoused"-page
Blue Goose Records, 54 King Street, New York, N.Y. 10014
more info about this LP
notes by 'Maggie de Miramon'Blue Goose 2003
notes by 'Maggie de Miramon'Blue Goose Records, 245 WaverlyPlace, New York, N.Y. 10014 Blue Goose 2003 (repress)
Blue Goose Records discography
by Rob Fleder
BILL WILLIAMS: THE KENTUCKY COLONEL
by Simon Bronner
by Rob Fleder and Stephen Calt
(with thanks to Helen Scott)
Bill Williams is one of the most exciting blues "finds" in many years. His discovery came at a time when there was little hope left of finding quality musicians with a first-hand knowledge of the country blues guitar styles of the
'twenties and 'thirties. Charlie Parsons, a guitar teacher-player-enthusiast from Greenup, Kentucky sent Stefan
Grossman a tape of Bill Williams, to see if Stefan, the author of three fine books on country blues guitar playing,
could offer any help in getting him recorded. Stefan sent the tape to Nick Perls of Yazoo and Blue Goose Records.
"Holy cow!" said Nick, "Do you hear that?" "The cat's a ringer for Blake!" Inside a week, Nick was speeding to
Greenup for a recording session; the results appear on Blue Goose 2004 Bill Williams: Low and Lonesome.
Stylistically, Bill is unique; he has the agility and speed of Blind Blake, and shares some of Blake's ideas, but by
and large his style is completely personal and highly innovative; the early beginnings of the Merle Travis guitar style
can even be heard in Bill's spectacular right hand thumb work.
Bill was born in 1896 in the country outside of Richmond, Virginia. He learned to play guitar while quite young, and in
his teens he started to ramble around the country. In Virginia he had begun to play for rural black dances, at parties,
juke joints, etc. In the course of his wanderings it was natural that he'd run into other musicians, and he says that he
met Blind Lemon Jefferson (although, oddly enough, he never heard Jefferson play in person) and white guitarist
Riley Puckett (of Skillet Lickers fame). Bill fell in with Blind Blake, about six years before Blake began to record, and the two "ran together" for about six months, Bill showed the legendary guitarist the now famed (and apparently misattributed) "Georgia Bound."
In 1922 Bill moved to Greenup, Kentucky where he has remained. He worked for the C&O Railroad, and is now a
pensioner. He travelled to the 1971 Smithsonian Folklife Festival and his able guitar playing and remarkably powerful
voice amazed and captivated the crowds.
Despite Bill's constant avowal to "quit playing cause I'm too old," few men have lived for their music as much as Bill:
his whole life is entertaining people who drop into his house for a chat, or audiences - anyone, anywhere who can
share his joy of music. Bill complained that we wore him out with too many questions, that he was too tired to play
anymore for us - but he'd be smiling all the while, and already have started playing some tune he thought we'd like to
In questioning Bill, we did not seek to trace his life history or the history of particular pieces too carefully: the Blue
Goose album notes supply much useful information that need not be duplicated here. We were interested, rather, in
the relocation of a blues singer and guitarist from Virginia to the predominantly white hillbilly area of Kentucky that is
Greenup County. Did Bill play differently for white audiences? Did he stay with the blues? How much did the white
rural music affect his style? Read on ...
by Paul Oliver
Bill Williams died Greenup, Kentucky, 6 October 1973.
Paul Oliver: Blues off the record - Thirty years of blues commentary.- 1984
thanks to Donald Adkins for additional info
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