Some of the greatest bluesmen leave this world without ever having been recorded. Henry Sloane, one of the key figures in the formation of the delta blues itself had this fate fall onto him. Henry Stuckey, the father of the Bentonian delta blues also regrettably never recorded.
Open D, or what is sometimes referred to as Vastopol, is a favourite guitar tuning of Blues musicians, especially in the Pre-World War II era. Its second name actually comes from the site of a 19th century Crimean war siege. It’s got an interesting history – and I think it’s a little missing link in the history of the blues.
Born in 1897 in Brenham, Texas, Willie Johnson was not always blind. At the age of seven his stepmother threw lye in his face and blinded him. His father was having an argument with her over her infidelity and she took it out on Willie. I was born to a wholesome, Serbian immigrant, middle class family, almost a hundred years later on the other side of the world in 1992 in Australia. But I always saw something of myself in his music.