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Biography

  • Born

    25 July 1897

  • Born In

    Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky, United States

  • Died

    4 April 1960 (aged 62)

Sylvester Weaver (born July 25, 1897 in Louisville, Kentucky; died April 4, 1960 in Louisville, Kentucky) was an American blues guitar player and pioneer of country blues.

On October 23, 1923, he recorded in New York with the blues singer Sara Martin Longing for Daddy Blues / I've Got to Go and Leave My Daddy Behind and two weeks later as a soloist Guitar Blues / Guitar Rag. Both recordings were released on Okeh Records. These recordings are the very first country-blues recordings and the first known recorded songs using the slide guitar style. Guitar Rag (played on a Guitjo) became a blues classic and was covered in the 1930's by Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys as Steel Guitar Rag and became a country music standard too.

Weaver recorded until 1927, sometimes accompanied by Sara Martin, about 50 additional songs. On some recordings from 1927 he was accompanied by Walter Beasley and the singer Helen Humes. Weaver often used the bottleneck-style method, playing his guitar with a knife. His recordings were quite successful but in 1927 he retired and went back to Louisville until his death in 1960. Though many country blues artists had a revival from the 1950's on, Weaver died almost forgotten. In 1992 his complete works were released on two CDs, the same year his (up to then anonymous) grave got a headstone by engagement of the Louisville-based Kentuckiana Blues Society (KBS). Furthermore the KBS has annually honored since 1989 persons who rendered outstanding services to the blues with their Sylvester Weaver Award.

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