Hambone Willie Newbern
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Posted in 1920s,Country Blues on 06.09.08

There’s not a whole lot out there about “Hambone” Willie Newbern – the story about him giving guitar tips to Sleepy John Estes and his temper – which may of led to his death in prison in 1947. Listening to his sides over the weekend, and pretty much all day today – I haven’t heard a more interesting and exciting blues musician for the first time in a very long time. Newbern’s got that hard, driving guitar that’s as steady as the railroad – and a great booming voice that must have been amazing to hear in person, and both of which make for a great blues musician and one that needs to be heard by everyone.

Newbern was born in Tennessee, and traveled as musician all across the South playing in medicine shows which shows in his vocal style and subject matter. I prefer his more personal material – his narrative about being arrested and thrown in jail is my personal favorite. These tracks were recorded in 1929 in Atlanta over two sessions for Okeh.

Hambone Willie Newbern – Shelby County Workhouse (1929)
Hambone Willie Newbern – Hambone Willie\’s Dreamy Eyed Woman\’s Blues (1929)

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