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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Working Man Blues - Guitar Slim And Jelly Belly

Alec Seward (March 16, 1902 - May 11, 1972) was an American Piedmont and country blues singer, guitarist and songwriter. Some of his records were released under pseudonyms, such as Guitar Slim, Blues Servant Boy, King Blues and Georgia Slim. His best remembered recordings were "Creepin' Blues" and "Some People Say." Seward, one of fourteen siblings, was born in Charles City County, Virginia. Similar to Gabriel Brown, Ralph Willis and Brownie McGhee, Seward relocated from the Southern United States to New York, in his case in 1924. Seward befriended Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry, and retained his Piedmont blues styling despite changes in musical trends. He met Louis Hayes (who later became a minister in northern New Jersey) and the duo performed variously named as the Blues Servant Boys, Guitar Slim and Jelly Belly, or The Back Porch Boys. During the 1940s and 1950s Seward played and recorded with Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie, McGhee and Terry. Around 1947 Seward, Guthrie, and Terry, recorded several chain gang related songs including "Chain Gang Special", and some other older songs adapted to having chain gang themes. They were later released on the compilation album, Best of the War Years. Under his own real name, Seward issued Creepin' Blues (1965, Bluesville) with harmonica accompaniment by Larry Johnson. Later in the decade Seward worked in concert and at folk-blues festivals. Seward died at the age of 70, in New York of natural causes, in May 1972. He is not to be confused with Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones, Guitar Slim, Jr., James "Guitar Slim" Stephenson nor Norman "Guitar Slim" Green  

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