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  • Joseph Scott

    Allen Britt and Bill Dooley were two of the ragtime pianists in St. Louis in 1899. According to the prominent black policeman Ira Cooper (1877-1939) of St. Louis, very shortly after the shooting, Bill Dooley wrote the song about the real-life Frankie Baker, Al Britt, and Alice Pryor. Cooper said it was performed in St. Louis as a "dirge… in many Negro saloons and resorts." We have every reason to think Dooley would have been familiar with the textually and musically related song "Stagger Lee" ("It is understood that Prof. Charlie Lee, the piano thumper, will play 'Stack-a-Lee' in variations at the [Kansas City] Negro Press association," Leavenworth Herald, 1/16/1897) about the killing a few years earlier of William "Billy" Lyons by "Stag" Lee Shelton in St. Louis. The playing and material of guitarists such as Hurt and Robert Wilkins is inextricably connected to 12-bar and non-12-bar music that the black South knew far, far better as of 1907-1911 as so-called "ragtime" music in a general sense (and that would include A. Maggio's "I Got The Blues" published in 1908) than as "blues" or "blues"-related music specifically.

  • Gregory Fulkerson

    The texture of his voice at this age is rare, as most of his recordings were after his rediscovery some 30 years later when his voice is older and more full of gravel. I enjoyed this track and the more velvety tones that we find in his youthful voice. However, I am still partial to the later live recordings.

  • barrybuttery


    Nope, I see the similarities between RJE and Bobby too, but for me, i think he tried alot to incorporate MJH sound in to his voice to.

  • ivansaric33

    What a beautiful tune..Missisippi John Hurt is truly original. Just rolls along. Total control.
    listen to Blind Willie Mc Tell "Travelling Blues" This reminds me of it…