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Ralph Willis (blues musician)

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Instruments  Vocals, guitar
Years active  Late 1930sā€“1953

Name  Ralph Willis
Role  Singer
Ralph Willis (blues musician) httpsiytimgcomviDsHoZ5GhJkhqdefaultjpg
Also known as  Ralph "Bama" Willis Alabama Slim Washboard Pete Sleepy Joe
Occupation(s)  Singer, guitarist, songwriter
Died  June 11, 1957, New York City, New York, United States
Albums  Why'd You Do It / Gonna Hop On Down the Line (Mono Version)
Genres  Piedmont blues, Country blues
Record labels  King Records, Savoy Records
Similar People  Brownie McGhee, Gabriel Brown, Doug Quattlebaum, Ed Bell, Sonny Terry

Ralph willis steel mill blues by blueridgeboy eric freeman


Ralph Willis (c. 1910 ā€“ June 11, 1957) was an American Piedmont blues and country blues singer, guitarist and songwriter. Some of his Savoy records were released under the pseudonyms Alabama Slim, Washboard Pete and Sleepy Joe.

Contents

Ralph willis old home blues


Biography

Sources suggest that Willis was born either near Birmingham, Alabama, or at Irvin, Wilkes County, Georgia. In the late 1930s, he moved to North Carolina and started to play with musicians who were familiar with Blind Boy Fuller. Willis made his first recordings in 1944 and continued recording until 1953, issuing fifty tracks on several labels, including Savoy, Signature, 20th Century, Abbey, Jubilee, Prestige, Par, and King.

Like Gabriel Brown, Alec Seward and Brownie McGhee, Willis relocated to New York City. At first he was recorded on his own, but eventually his record companies frequently paired him with accompanists. Judson Coleman joined Willis on his 20th Century recordings, and McGhee was employed in 1949. McGhee and Sonny Terry contributed to Willis's later recordings.

Willis played in various musical styles, from slow blues to up-tempo country dance tracks. However, he spurned the growing popularity of folk blues and R&B. He was musically conscious of Blind Lemon Jefferson and Luke Jordan, but in his later recordings his guitar style leaned towards the booming resonance of Lightnin' Hopkins.

Willis died in New York in June 1957.

Selected discography

  • Faded Picture Blues (King, 1970)
  • Carolina Blues (Blues Classics, 1974)
  • Ralph Willis Vol. 1 1944ā€“1951 (Document, 1994)
  • Ralph Willis Vol. 2 1951ā€“1953 (Document, 1994)
  • References

    Ralph Willis (blues musician) Wikipedia


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