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Bukka White - Parchman Farm LP 


Traffic Entertainment

Born Booker T. Washington White, Bukka’s trajectory as a blues performer follows a familiar template for his time. Born in Mississippi, maybe in Houston, MS – maybe in Aberdeen, MS – maybe in 1902, maybe in 1909 or even 1906 he recorded throughout the 1930s. Bukka even recorded while incarcerated in the Mississippi State Penitentiary aka Parchman Farm. Asked about his time at Parchman White commented “Well, I mostly played guitar.”

During the 1940s and 50s as Blues moved from the Delta to Chicago, from rural to urban, Bukka’s career went dormant. And then, like many of his time, his talent was “rediscovered” in the early 60s, in no small part thanks to a brilliant guitarist in his own right, John Fahey. Performances and all new recordings happened throughout the 60s, building interest in Bukka White’s Delta roots. This compilation of White’s best early material was first issued in 1969 (1970 in the US), collecting Bukka’s 78s recorded for Vocalion and Okeh. His influence on rock performers of that day cannot be understated. He opened for rock bands he’d inspired at venues like The Fillmore, played his instrument in such a fashion that some said it’s like he was trying to destroy that guitar, his most famous guitar, a 1933 National Duolian, was even known as “Hard Rock.” And then there’s the fact that his song “Shake‘em On Down” was so influential on Led Zeppelin that they, “borrowed” from the song for both “Hats Off To Roy Harper” and “Custard Pie.”

Bukka White was many things, a strong influence on his cousin B.B. King, a cotton picker, a mule driver, a hobo, a player in the old Negro Leagues, a boxer, a preacher, a convict, a factory laborer and, as celebrated here, one of America’s blues pioneers.

1 Pinebluff, Arkansas
2 Shake 'Em on Down
3 Black Train Blues
4 Strange Place Blues
5 Where Can I Change My Clothes?
6 Sleepy Man Blues
7 Parchman Farm Blues
8 Good Gin Blues
9 High Fever Blues
10 District Attorney Blues
11 Fixin' to Die
12 Aberdeen, Mississippi
13 Bukka's Jitterbug Swing
14 Special Streamline