Sylvester Weaver: Guitar Rag (1927)

 |   |  1 min read

Sylvester Weaver: Guitar Rag (1927)

Blues guitarist Sylvester Weaver was -- until someone finds another earlier -- the first man to have slide guitar recorded, and this tune -- along with his Guitar Blues laid down at the same time -- was one of the first blues instrumentals to be recorded.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky some time before the dawn of the 20th century, he first recorded in '23 while in New York but his recording career was over just four years later when he quit and went back home.

In that short period however he played alongside a couple of singers (notably Sara Martin) and single-handedly made slide guitar -- he played with a knife -- an expressive instrument to be reckoned with.

When he died in '60 (in his early-mid 60s) he had been all-but forgotten although this tune was much covered in the Twenties and Thirties.

It wasn't until the Nineties that all his recordings were collected across two discs by Document Records. This remastered version here however comes from a new compilation, The Rough Guide to Unsung Heroes of Country Blues Vol.2 (Rough Guide/Southbound in New Zealand).

71V9sjV6rwL._SL1417_Also on the 24-track compilation are the Memphis Jug Band, Bill Munroe (not the white country singer), Charlie Lincoln and a bunch of other names you've probably never heard before.

Fascinating stuff, not the least among them being Blind Joe Taggart with the rousing Religion is Something Within You, a kind of country gospel blues . . . but on the side Taggart would record the devil's music.

But under pseudonyms of course.

Just in case the Lord was watching, I guess. 

For more one-off, oddities or songs with an interesting backstory see From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Annie Ross: Twisted (1952)

Annie Ross: Twisted (1952)

Annie Ross -- who at the time of this writing is still alive and 82 -- had an extraordinary career for a kid born Annabelle Short into a family of vaudevillians in London. When she was four, the... > Read more

Hep Stars: No Response (1965)

Hep Stars: No Response (1965)

At the Abba Museum in Stockholm -- more correctly Abba The Museum and The Swedish Music Hall of Fame -- you should save time for the last rooms, the bit after the Abba part. There you'll find... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST WRITER SUSAN EPSKAMP on a doco about a music festival about unity and hope

GUEST WRITER SUSAN EPSKAMP on a doco about a music festival about unity and hope

Some of the most interesting music has been immersed in the politics of its day. The attitudes of musicians are a reaction to the social, political and economic happenings that surround... > Read more

PHOTOGRAPHER ALFREDO BINI PROFILED (2012): Point and shoot, and be shot at

PHOTOGRAPHER ALFREDO BINI PROFILED (2012): Point and shoot, and be shot at

As a career change, it couldn't have been more dramatic or life endangering. In a few fast years Alfredo Bini went from being a factory manager in Italy to a freelance photojournalist being shot... > Read more