Bukka White

Booker T. Washington "Bukka" White (November 12, 1906 – February 26, 1977) was an American Delta blues guitarist and singer. "Bukka" is a phonetic spelling of White's first name, though he preferred "Booker." White was a first cousin of B.B. King's mother (White's mother and King's grandmother were sisters). There has been disputes on what year White was born, some saying between 1902-1905 and others 1907-1909.

He first recorded for Victor Records in 1930. His recordings for Victor, like those of many other bluesmen, fluctuated between country blues and gospel numbers. Victor published his photograph in 1930. His gospel songs were done in the style of Blind Willie Johnson, with a female singer accentuating the last phrase of each line. Nine years later, while serving time for assault, he recorded for folklorist John Lomax. The few songs he recorded around this time became his most well-known: "Shake 'Em On Down," and "Po' Boy". (Read more at Wikipedia)

Links To Peel

Peel was a fan of the country blues, which was the earliest form of the genre, and would often play vintage reissues and more recent country blues tracks on his shows, including some by Bukka White. White was rediscovered in the 1960s by blues scholar and Peel favourite John Fahey, who wrote a letter addessed to "Booker T. Washington White (Old Blues Singer), c/o General Delivery, Aberdeen, Mississippi", hoping that it might reach the singer. White replied and soon afterwards recorded an LP for Fahey's Takoma label, He was able to resume his career, made further recordings and and played to young white audiences at blues and folk festivals, like the famous Newport Folk Festival. White visited Britain in 1967 as part of an American Folk Blues Festival package tour, together with fellow Delta blues veterans Son House and Skip James. It is not known whether Peel saw them perform at that time.

When John Fahey came to Britain in 1969 and recorded a session for Peel, one of the tracks was "Poor Boy", which, when it appeared on Fahey's Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death LP, had a songwriting credit to "Booker T. Washington White". Another of White's best-known recordings, the 1937 track "Shake 'Em On Down", is said to have inspired two Led Zeppelin songs. Among other versions of Bukka White's material are Bob Dylan's version of "Fixin' To Die", on Dylan's first LP, and Canned Heat's updating of "Sic 'Em Dogs On Me", retitled "Sic 'Em Pigs On Me" to refer to US police violence against hippies. For the Peelenium, Peel nominated Bukka White's "Special Streamline" track as part of his Peelenium 1940.


Shows Played

Bukka White - Special Streamline (1940)

Bukka White - Special Streamline (1940)

'Special Streamline', a Peelenium 1940

  • 21 October 1987 (as Washington White): The New 'Frisco Train (v/a LP - Mississippi Moaners 1927-1942) Yazoo
  • 24 November 1991: Bukka's Jitterbug Swing (v/a album - Savage Kick Volume 6) Savage Kick
  • 04 February 1994: Special Stream Line (v/a CD - The Slide Guitar: Bottles Knives & Steel) CBS
  • 12 February 1994 (BFBS): Special Streamline (v/a album - The Slide Guitar: Bottles, Knives & Steel) Columbia
  • 02 April 1994: Special Stream Line CD: Bottles Knives & Steel CBS 4672512
  • 19 April 2000: Parchman Farm Blues (LP: Harry Smith's Anthology Of American Folk Music, Volume Four) Revenant
  • August 2000 (FSK): Parchman Farm Blues (v/a CD - Harry Smith's Anthology Of American Folk Music, Volume Four - Promotional Sampler) Revenant
  • 31 August 2000: 'Remembrance Of Charlie Patton' (LP 'Mississippi Blues') Sonet
  • September 2000 (FSK): Parchman Farm Blues (v/a CD - Harry Smith's Anthology Of American Folk Music, Volume Four - Promotional Sampler) Revenant
  • 04 June 2003: 'Aberdeen, Mississippi Blues (LP- Newport Folk Festival)' (Vanguard)
  • 13 November 2003: 'Shake em On Down' (Box Set - 'Century Of The Blues')' (Chrome Dreams)

External Links

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