[Dixielandjazz] Re: Willie McTell

Bill Haesler bhaesler at nsw.bigpond.net.au
Tue Sep 30 20:39:04 PDT 2003

Dear Glen and Norman,
Sorry to be a bit late with a reply. A busy few days!
Regarding Norman's: >In telling my uncle about him, my relative reported that he'd heard him at the Pig and Whistle, a
restaurant 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.<
With due respect, I suggest mistaken identity or memory lapse.

Blind Willie Samuel McTell. (1901-1959). Born and died in Georgia. Born almost totally blind.
Recorded for Victor, Columbia, Okeh, Vocalion. Decca, LoC, Regal, Biograph and Prestige-Bluesville.
Using the following names: Barrelhouse Sammy, Blind Doogie, Blind Sammy, Georgia Bill, Red Hot Willie Glaze, Hot Shot
Willie Glaze, Pig 'n' Whistle Red, Red Hot Willie.
On none of these records did he use the name Barbecue Bob. 
That I could find.
He certainly worked in Atlanta and, over many years, at the 'Pig'n' Whistle'.

Robert 'Bob' Hicks (1902-1931). Born and died in Georgia. Named Barbecue Bob due to frequent engagements at Tidwell's
Barbecue Place, Atlanta, Georgia. 
Recorded for Columbia (1927-30).
Influenced: John Jackson and Curley Weaver.

I have never seen any references suggesting a direct connection between the two guitarist/singers. 
Nor can I imagine McTell needing to use Barbecue Bob's name in later life for any reason.
However, it is said that Bob Hicks was an influence on the playing/singing of Blind Curley Weaver (1906-1962).
And Weaver recorded with McTell (1931-35) and worked with him at the 'Pig 'n' Whistle'.
It could therefore be assumed that they would have known each other.
McTell's guitar playing reminds me of the soulful work of Blind Willie Johnson, whereas Barbecue Bob has a style more
like the popular bluesmen of the period.
Based on the number of records made by both McTell and Hicks, they must have been well-known celebrities in the Atlanta
Kind regards,

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