365 Days of Album Recommendations – Feb 5 [Super Bowl Edition]

Blind Willie McTell – Last Sessions

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Super Bowl edition? Yeah, that’s right. A lot of you out there think you’re going to be rooting for the “underdog” from Atlanta today, right?

Well, you can tell yourself that’s what you’re doing, but you’re not.

If you REALLY want to show some love for the truly talented underdog from Atlanta, turn the fucking TV off and go listen to Blind WillieMcTell.

The fact that, as a nation, we allowed a man of this much talent, beauty, grace, skill, and power to disappear into the rotten mists of a racist, classist time is literally a sin.

For my money, Blind Willie McTell should be required listening for every schoolkid in the country. Aspiring songwriters should be forced to live with his compositions as aspiring monks do with Koans—until they can show they understand. You shouldn’t be allowed to step foot on a blues club stage if you can’t express something in honor of Blind Willie McTell.

But that’s not the case. Instead, the performances collected here were recorded by a record store owner who saw Willie McTell playing on the street for change, and thought he recognized him as the legendary country blues singer whose songs he so prized, from a heyday that never materialized.

These aren’t the best recordings of Blind Willie McTell. But if you have a heart, these recordings will break it. He’d be dead in three years, but you wouldn’t know it. The man’s talent is just bone-chillingly real, so clear, so magic.  Atlanta’s forgotten genius. He wasn’t actually born there, but it’s where he spent most of his years. Atlanta’s forgotten genius.

He died just a few short years before the “folk revival” of the 60s began. If he’d have made it to 1964, maybe he, like Mississippi John Hurt, could have had a new chance in the coffee houses. But alas, it wasn’t to be. He’d been too poor, too sick, too disadvantaged, too long.

So today, if you really want to be a patriot, or if you really want to root for an underdog from Atlanta, skip the capitalist charade, and pay tribute instead to a real American hero.

 


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