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Blind Willie McTell lives on in Thomason

From: Philip Graitcer
Length: 04:07

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Bluesman Blind Willie McTell travelled throughout the South, but he made frequent stops in Thomson, Georgia where he was born. Now the city celebrates its favorite musical son by organizing an annual Festival

25774_366901622194_366899297194_4841019_3159312_n_small Bluesman Blind Willie McTell travelled throughout the South, but he made frequent stops in Thomson, Georgia where he was born. Now the city celebrates its favorite musical son by organizing an annual Festival

Piece Description

Broadcast History

Scheduled for GPB

Transcript

NAT SOUND: Happy Valley…..

I’m in a country graveyard right next to the Jones Grove Baptist Church, about seven miles south of the city of Thomson. Mockingbirds are singing from the sweetgum trees, as lifelong resident and Thomson city manager, Don Powers and I stand looking at a grey marble gravestone with a guitar carved on it.

T4_0013: Here we are at the gravesite of Willie McTell. …This is the southern part of McDuffie County, called Happy Valley. It’s still very rural down here, you have some cattle farms and you have some houses. It’s the northeast tip of the kaolin area.

William Samuel McTiel, known as Blind Willie McTell because he was blind from birth, was, for four decades, one of the most popular southern bluesmen. He had Georgia roots, as he explains in this interview recorded in 1959 by John Lomax for the Library of Congress.

WILLIE INTERVIEW: I growed up down in South...
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Intro and Outro

INTRO:

In the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s bluesman Blind Willie McTell traveled throughout the south, but Thomson, Georgia - his birthplace - was a frequent stopover. For the past 18 years, the city of Thomson has been celebrating its famous musical son by organizing The Blind Willie McTell Festival.

From Thomson, Philip Graitcer has this report.

OUTRO:

For more information on the Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival go to GPB.ORG