Classic Albums: The Definitive by Blind Willie McTell

Right, I’ve not gone back that far here on my blog thingy in the whole story of music, mid to late 50’s is where I’ve gone back to before with all these Classic Albums of mine. Now with this one today we are going back to late 1920’s/early 1930’s. In just a few years time from now some of these recordings will be 100 years old, that’s amazing to think that. The Blues is something I’ve not include yet, here it is now with Blind Willie McTell which think I would rate him as my favourite of all those old guy’s from that time. Pretty much my intro was in the 90’s when Bob Dylan sung:

“No one sings the blues like Blind Willie McTell”

Well, I’ve got to agree with that. That song was recorded in the 80’s but some mad reason it was never released then but on his first official bootleg comp album. The song title was named after singer and it could be the greatest track of Dylan’s on that release so I just had to know who he was singing about. Dylan’s lifted more that just his name here, I guess you’ll have to know his lyrics well but here’s a clue: Lay Lady Lay.

I knew Robert Johnson as the main old blues guy at the time in the 90’s but there just have to be more than him, off course. I’ve just got to include more than just McTell here too but he’s a great one to be the first. This two disc set is still the best one of his stuff I can find, maybe only the complete recordings would be better if you want to dig as deep as you can. The Definitive, under Root N’ Blues series by the record label Columbia/Legacy is it not to be confused with the endless comp albums that is pumped out by whoever because they can. In the early 2000’s McTell got even more PR with a then brand new band at the time called The White Stripes, covering his songs and even that Dylan track got done at some point too. Jack White named as his music hero in Mojo magazine’s 100 issue. Just in the last year or so White reissued McTell on his own label, Third Man Records.

William Samuel McTell with his wife Kate McTell who sung with her husband on these tracks too.

When under a few different names at the time in 20’s – 30’s: the first eight tracks are originally credited to Blind Sammie, a few to Georgia Bill, then his wife sings some under the name Ruth Mary Willis, track 17 is the first for Blind Willie & Partner, two go to Curley Weaver & Partner and then on disc two it’s Blind Willie but it seems his last/surname McTell was only added to the credit later. He when on to live until 1959 but these recording are his prime because recording dates seem to dry up by 1930’s. All this would never happen these days, you builded a career under just one name and someone as talent as him wouldn’t just not have anymore time in a recording studio. Anyway it’s amazing these recording do existed in the first place so we now can listen to them. His bio is way long to include here, this is more like an intro. I was trying not to be too long here, you know? He was from what we know was born blind at birth or close to it. That is a 12 string guitar he’s playing too.

Now I know some people will think these old recording are not worth your time because it’s not the greatest sound but just listening to that guitar playing, it’s epic. If it’s all to much for you, it’s 41 tracks here I say just listen to the opening track called Atlanta Strut. If something like that don’t convinced McTell is a music genius, well I’ve got not much to say to you. So now got to asked, who loves it like me?

The Definitive track listing and times:

1. Atlanta Strut – 3:10
 2. Travelin’ Blues – 3:15
 3. Come on Around to My House Mama – 3:03
4. Kind Mama – 2:58
5. Talking To Myself – 3:12
6. Razor Ball – 3:20
7. Southern Can Is Mine – 3:16
 8. Broke Down Engine Blues – 3:09
9. Stomp Down Rider – 3:08
10. Scarey Day Blues – 3:02
11. Rough Alley Blues – 3:17
12. Experience Blues – 3:12
13. Painful Blues – 2:55
14. Low Rider’s Blues – 3:19
15. Georgia Rag – 3:05
16. Low Down Blues – 3:13
17. Warm It Up To Me – 2:56
18. It’s Your Time To Worry – 3:04
 19. It’s A Good Little Thing – 2:51
20. You Was Born To Die – 2:50
21. Dirty Mistreater – 3:09
22. Lord Have Mercy If You Please – 2:58
23. Don’t You See How This World Made a Change – 2:55
24. Savannah Mama – 3:17
25. Broke Down Engine – 3:13
26. Broke Down Engine No. 2 – 2:53
 27. My Baby’s Gone – 2:59
28. Love Makin’ Mama # 1 – 2:56
 29. Love Makin’ Mama # 2 – 2:52
30. Death Room Blues # 1 – 2:51
31. Death Room Blues # 2 -2:59
 32. Death Cell Blues – 3:10
33. Lord Send Me an Angel # 1 – 2:54
34. Lord Send Me an Angel # 2 – 2:57
35. B & O Blues No. 2 # 1 – 3:02
36. B & O Blues No. 2 # 2 – 2:50
37. Weary Hearted Blues – 3:02
38. Bell St. Lightnin’ – 2:54
39. Southern Can Mama – 2:56
40. Runnin’ Me Crazy – 3:06
 41. East St. Louis Blues (Fare You Well) – 2:52


Here’s all my Classic Albums tagged in one spot or now each post linked in blue below:

So this was the reason I started this blog. The idea is simply to write post about one of my favourite album each that I consider a classic album. Please leave a reply below about this album or any others because I would love to hear what you think about each album too? Cheers!



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