Personalities | Bukka White | Thirties | Jazz & Blues

(Guitar, piano, vocals, 1906–77)

Booker T. Washington White was raised on a farm outside Houston, Texas; his father taught him guitar in 1915. Two years later he learned piano and by 1921 he was working barrelhouses and honky tonks in St. Louis. Inspired by a meeting with Charley Patton, he hoboed through the South for much of the 1920s. He made his recording debut for Victor in 1930 as Washington White.

White was athletic and at various times he was a boxer and played baseball for the Birmingham Black Cats. He recorded ‘Shake ’Em On Down’ for Vocalion in 1937 and the record was a considerable hit. White recorded 12 titles for Vocalion in March 1940, which are among the finest examples of pre-war country blues. He served in the US Navy during the Second World War and retired from music, until being ‘rediscovered’ in 1963.

Styles & Forms | Thirties | Jazz & Blues
Personalities | Josh White | Thirties | Jazz & Blues

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel


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