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Thread: Blues, Stomps, & Rags #36

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Blues, Stomps, & Rags #36

    The blues singer and mandolin player, Willie Hatcher (1909 -- ?) was born near Clarksdale, Mississippi. His family moved to Arkansas in 1916, eventually settling in Wilson. In about 1925, he moved to St. Louis, where he worked in an auto plant, and married young. During this period, he watched closely as a neighbour played mandolin, then bought one for himself at a pawnshop. He imitated the movements of his neighbour, and, by trial and error, learned to play. "I didn't even know how to tune it when I got it", he said. "But I watched where he put his fingers to make chords and I did the same thing and just turned on the strings until I got it sounding right to me" (quoted in Welding, Pete). Hatcher then teamed up with George Smith, a washboard player, and busked in the streets and bars of St. Louis. Though Hatcher was not a full-time musician, in 1938, the pianist and singer, Walter Davis, took him to record at Bluebird with Speckled Red, Robert "Nighthawk" McCollum, and Sonny Boy Williamson. In the late 'forties, Hatcher moved to Chicago and played with the guitarist, "One-Legged" Sam. However, Hatcher was never successful financially as a musician. When Pete Welding met him circa 1964, he had stopped playing, and his mandolin was in hock. However, Frank Scott implies that the three recordings on the CD Mandolin Blues (Testament Records) were recorded after that time. Somewhere along the line, Willie Hatcher, a fine bluesman, disappeared from the public eye, leaving behind only a few recordings. Joe Carr teaches how to play a Willie Horton-style introduction in School of Mandolin: Blues (p.18).

    Information from: Scott, Frank; liner notes for Mandolin Blues (Testament Records), and Welding, Pete; Blues Unlimited 16 (October 1964), reprinted on Weenie Campbell.com., a site specializing in old blues.

    I had a hard time finding good examples of Willie Hatcher's mandolin playing. When he sang on recordings, the mandolin was often secondary or absent. His three excellent recordings on Mandolin Blues, a CD which also feature Johnny Young, Yank Rachell, and Carl Martin, have not made it to YouTube. Well, they have, but I can't access them; you might have more luck -- search for Garbage Man Blues, Crawdad, and Waiting Just for You. Furthermore, many pieces by Speckled Red, listed as having Hatcher on mandolin, actually have no mandolin at all. However, I did find a couple of pieces.

    First, here's Hatcher accompanying Speckled Red in 1938. If the links don't work, search YouTube for "Do The Georgia -- Speckled Red".

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAnrMGZx5zs




    Here's something different, but a treat for fans of blues mandolin: a two-hour radio show of Chicago blues mandolin. To hear Hatcher play "Garbage Man Blues" move the cursor to 1:00. If the links don't work, search Google (not YouTube) for "Blues Unlimited #165 - Windy City Mandolin".

    https://beta.prx.org/stories/82825?play=true
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Registered User maudlin mandolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues, Stomps, & Rags #36

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=db8VFXf6jmA

    Here is "Waiting just for you"

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    Default Re: Blues, Stomps, & Rags #36

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GL_O6nPG0Vg
    Here is "Garbage Man Blues"

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    Default Re: Blues, Stomps, & Rags #36


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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues, Stomps, & Rags #36

    Quote Originally Posted by maudlin mandolin View Post
    Thanks, Duncan, but all I'm getting for the three videos you posted is "This video is not available." I'm happy that others can get them though.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Registered User maudlin mandolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues, Stomps, & Rags #36

    Sorry you can't see them Ranald. They have all been auto-generated by YouTube here in England (how that happens I have no idea). Crawdad fades out after just a minute which maybe implies it is intended to be a taster for the album

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