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William Harris

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“Did you ever wake up with bullfrogs on your mind?” asks earnest Alabama bluesman William Harris on his country-blues dance tune “Bullfrog Blues.” Talk about pickup lines. With a driving guitar and piney vocal style developed throughout the Southeast and Texas, this itinerant musician left us such popular classics as “I’m Leaving Town,” “Kansas City Blues,” and “Keep Your Man out of Birmingham.” Walter “Buddy Boy” Hawkins, from Blytheville, Arkansas, coupled a similarly plaintive voice with nimble guitar work influenced by Bach and flamenco motifs learned overseas during World War I.

This selection features Hawkins at his eccentric best with his quick, danceable “Raggin’ the Blues,” the poignant “Awful Fix Blues,” a takeoff on Charley Patton’s “Shake It and Break It” (recorded with drunk Patton shouting in the background) called “Snatch It and Grab It,” and the novelty ditty partly sung with pinched nostrils, “Voice Throwin’ Blues.” —Alan Greenberg

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