Today: Booker T. Washington “Bukka” White was born in 1906

Booker T. Washington “Bukka” White (November 12, 1906– February 26, 1977) was a delta blues guitarist and singer born in Aberdeen, Mississippi. Even though he didn’t like the spelling “Bukka”, he was best known by that name. “Bukka” was not a nickname, but a phonetic misspelling of White’s given name Booker, by his second (1937) record label (Vocalion).

He is also known for giving his more famous cousin B.B. King his first guitar, a Stella.

A selection of “Bukka” White performances part 1:

White started his career playing fiddle at square dances. He met Charley Patton early on, although some doubt has been cast upon this; regardless, Patton was a large influence on White. He typically played slide guitar, in an open tuning. He was one of the few, along with Skip James, to use a crossnote tuning in Em, which he may have learned, as James did, from Henry Stuckey. (Lastfm)

A selection of “Bukka” White performances part 2:

Booker T. Washington “Bukka” White was active from the 30s all up to the mid 70s (he died in 1977).
by Uncle Dave Lewis

Blues purists will tell you that nothing Bukka White recorded after 1940 is ultimately worth listening to. This isn’t accurate, nor fair. White was an incredibly compelling performer who gave up of more of himself in his work than many artists in any musical discipline. The Sky Songs albums for Arhoolie are an eminently rewarding document of Bukka’s charm and candor, particularly in the long monologue “Mixed Water.” “Big Daddy,” recorded in 1974 for Arnold S. Caplin’s Biograph label, likewise is a classic of its kind and should not be neglected.

Top 5 songs by Bukka White:

First in great quality from Spotify:

…and in variable quality from youtube (but check out the great live video of Aberdeen Mississippi Blues and Poor Boy, fantastic stuff!)

“Fixin’ to die blues”:

“High Fever Blues”::

“Aberdeen Mississippi Blues” (and “Poor Boy.”):

“Parchman Farm Blues”:

“Strange Place Blues”:

One of the essential blues men!

– Hallgeir

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