Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

Document Records
William Harris & Buddy Boy Hawkins 1927 - 1929

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William Harris
Walter 'Buddy Boy' Hawkins


William Harris
01 - I`m leavin` town Listen
02 - Kansas City blues Listen
03 - Kitchen range blues Listen
04 - Keep your man out of Birmingham Listen
05 - Electric chair blues Listen
06 - Bullfrog blues Listen
07 - Leavin` here blues Listen
08 - Early mornin` blues Listen
09 - Hot time blues Listen

Walter 'Buddy Boy' Hawkins
10 - Shaggy dog blues Listen
11 - Number three blues (take 2) Listen
12 - Jailhouse fire blues Listen
13 - Snatch it back blues Listen
14 - Workin` on the railroad Listen
15 - Yellow woman blues Listen
16 - Raggin` the blues Listen
17 - Awful fix blues Listen
18 - A rag blues Listen
19 - How come mama blues Listen
20 - Snatch it and grab it Listen
21 - Voice throwin' blues Listen


Walter “Buddy Boy” Hawkins, voca,l guitar.
William Harris, vocal, guitar.
With contribuions by Joe Robinson, guitar, speech and possibly Charlie Patton, vocal comments.
Genres: Country Blues, Country Blues guitar.
Informative booklet notes by Paul Oliver
Detailed discography.
From this album's booklet notes:
Nothing is known about William Harris and Buddy Boy Hawkins as individuals, and field research has uncovered almost no details of their lives; what we know of them is a fragment of information or two, and the rest has to be deduced from their songs.  From the evidence of his guitar style, with its emphasis on rhythmic complexity rather than on single-string work, William Harris may have come from the Mississippi Delta. 
He was an impressive performer, singing in his firm voice with a marked vibrato.  He may have been inspired to make Electric Chair Blues by hearing Blind Lemon Jefferson’s record, and the poor state of the rare 78 suggests that even as gloomy a theme as this had its appeal to some listeners. On Bull Frog Blues and Leavin’ Town he suspends the resolution of the line by repeating a phrase, but in other respects his blues are unsophisticated, with lines that fail to rhyme on for example, Early Mornin’ Blues.
Buddy Boy Hawkins was a singer about whom we know even less than Harris.  He mentions Jackson, Mississippi several times on A Rag Blues where he says the piece came from, but stated on Snatch It Back that “these my blues I brought ‘em all the way from Birmingham”.  It’s possible that, as Workin’ On The Railroad suggests, he had laid track; trains, especially Number Three figure in other blues.
Yet Hawkins too, may have worked the shows: How Come Mama is a rural version of a vaudeville song, while Voice Throwin’ Blues is an uncommon example of attempted ventriloquism on record, the singer performing a standard “Hesitating Blues” with an assumed “second voice” set against his normal vocal style.  His accomplished guitar work with more than a hint of Spanish flourishes reinforce the impression of a travelling performer.  Like Harris he was most at home with the blues, of which his masterpiece is Jailhouse Fire on which he entreats the jailer to release his woman and save her from burning.
The internal evidence of the few recordings  made by William Harris and Walter “Buddy Boy” Hawkins points to an active blues link between Jackson, Mississippi and Birmingham, Alabama, by way of the old Great Southern railroad and the travelling minstrel and medicine shows.  Not only do the records reveal two great, if little-known blues singers; they also tell us something of the way in which the blues was circulated in the early years. 


Further recordings by William Harris and Walter "Buddy Boy" Hawkins, discovered after the production of this album, can be found on DOCD-5276 Too Late Too Late Vol 3 1927 - 1960's


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