Norman Vickers nvickers1 at cox.net
Sun Sep 28 23:08:14 PDT 2003

Jazzjerry writes:

.>Then there are the
>country blues singers such as Washington Phillips, Mississippi John Hurt,
>Willie McTell and many many others; even a few white singers such as Frank
>Hutchinson. What about Lonnie Johnson, Roosevelt Sykes, Big Bill Broonzy?
In more
>recent times one can easily suggest people like Muddy Waters, Jimmy
>Joe Williams, Jimmy Rushing, Dinah Washington, Etta Jones
>Jazzjerry at aol.com

When I was in school in the '50s in Atlanta, Blind Willie McTell used to
sing outside a little drive-in on Ponce de Leon Ave called The Blue Lantern.
He tapped with his cane and would sing accompnied by his 12 string guitar.
On nights when I could get away, I'd study until about 10 pm and then reward
myself with a beer and listening to Blind Willie.  In telling my uncle
about him, my relative reported that he'd heard him at the Pig and Whistle,
a restuarant still going in the 50s.  He was going by the name of "Barbecue
Bob" in the mid '30s when my uncle was then in school at Emory.  Later when
I got some Blind Willie LPs, and later, CDs liner notes confirmed that he'd
recorded under the name of Barbecue Bob, and others.

I counted myself lucky, even then, to have heard him live.  Blind Willie had
some of his own verses to "Talking Blues" as well as some of the standard
ones which are printed, for example in the Lomaxes book of American Folk

Sometimes, I'd ask Willie to choose some of his favorite songs to sing.  One
I remember that Willie would sing was
"There's a Rose that grows in No-man's Land."

Blind Willie is  still remembered in Atlanta, as there's a nightclub named
Blind Willie's.

Thanks Jerry for the opportunity to share this rare memory!

Norman Vickers

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