Willie McTell will shave the hair off the back of your neck with his agile guitar playing and his aching thin voice. At least it's aching in the somber songs, where he takes you to meet Satan and Saints and bemoan the milk of black cows. But sometimes he just likes to do the Atlanta Strut, or Pinetop's Boogie, and you'll find yourself boogie-struttin' along with him.
I discovered him by way of "Roots of Rock" 5 dollar blues sampler CD. Statesboro Blues - a wailing twelve string soul screamer. Ben asks, is that a man singing?
Also Known As "Blind Willie McTell, but Steve pointed out that perhaps that's not so respectful (perhaps we should then call him William McTell?).
Bob Dylan must like him too, he wrote a song about him: ...nobody can sing the blues / Like Blind Willie McTell
Transcribed lyrics to three of his songs, sometimes aided by online texts:
His songs make fascinating poems, cultural documents from an older American south, testaments to pride and alienation. Of course his voice and guitar playing make it fee like cold liquid warm on your skin but still it's nice to have those lyrics to see how they feel on your tongue.
I got a sound sample, weary hearted blues (90 seconds, 900k aiff), from the now quite thoroughly defunct ffly.com - firefly.
About Blind Willie from the Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival web site.