Still + Sound 1: Blind Willie McTell at the Robert Fulton Hotel

I’d like to begin a series where I pair a single photograph with an archival sound recording.  For this first one, I focus on a photograph of bluesman Blind Willie McTell that was taken by Ruby Lomax on November 5, 1940 in a room of the Robert Fulton Hotel (which was located at the corner of Luckie and Cone Streets in downtown Atlanta).  Ruby was the wife of John Lomax, who at the time was the Curator of the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress.   The Lomaxes travelled extensively throughout the South in the late 30s and early 40s, collecting extensive field recordings of vernacular music.  In this recording excerpt, John introduces McTell and then the musician delivers a monologue about the various forms of blues.  I particularly like how McTell describes the blues of the 1920s as developing an “alley lope.”  Michael Gray recently released an excellent book about McTell, and several pages of this book focus on the Lomaxes’ recording of McTell at the Robert Fulton Hotel in 1940.

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2 Responses to “Still + Sound 1: Blind Willie McTell at the Robert Fulton Hotel”

  1. Jeannie Weller Cooper Says:

    LOVE your blog- I cannot thank you enough for posting the Plaza Drugs ad. I posted my main memory of it on the YouTube page. I actually lived on Somerset at the approx time it was shot. I was a baby though, so not many trips down to the soda fountain for me. I live in PCB, FL now, and am writing a book about East End/Thomas Drive/State Park area of PCB- would covet any photos, memories of same. Linking this blog up to SSAM. THANKS AGAIN!

  2. mctell2 Says:

    Erie and yet so profound…..Tell was the man, the man with the travlin shoes…….

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