Week beginning: ... Friday 23rd February 2024

At PD Productions, our research and journey of discovery never ends, simply because the culture of the blues never ends. We're honoured and privileged to share the music within the genre of the Blues back in time a hundred years and beyond, a genre so vast and so diverse. So many people from around the world have contributed to our research, and indeed, our library of music, far too many to mention by name. Released every Friday, we invite you to join Backtracking, the blue time machine as we go back to the Roots of the Blues, back, to where it all began ......
Featured on Backtracking ..
  • The lady sings the blues.
  • Blues on the Bayou.
  • Gospel blues train.
  • Featured artist of the week.
  • Spirituals – The blues connection.
  • Prison work songs.
  • Myths and Legends of the blues.
1   Download current Backtracking
1   Backtracking archive (Download)
1   Discovering the blues
1   Current Backtracking feature
Featured artist of the week .... Garfield Akers

Garfield Akers (possibly born James Garfield Echols), probably 1908/1959  ... He had sometimes performed under the name ‘Garfield Partee’. Information about him is uncertain, and knowledge of his life is based almost entirely on reports of a few contemporary witnesses.

Garfield’s recordings are few consist of four sides, which are nonetheless historically significant. His most well-known song was his single ‘Cottonfield Blues’, with friend and long-time collaborator Joe Callicott.

In the 1920s, he met Joe Callicott, with whom he played well into his 40s and who was his second guitarist. They performed on weekends in the Hernando (Mississippi) area. Neither were professional musicians, music was a sideline for them, Garfield was a sharecropper (a form of debt bondage). For whatever reason, they avoided the Mississippi Delta, anecdotally because it was too dangerous for them.

Joe Callicott appears on Garfield’s' first release of the two-part ‘Cottonfield Blues’, which they recorded in 1929 at the Peabody Hotel. For the recording, Garfield was paid 40 dollars and Joe five.

Garfield’s second recording, which took place in February 1930, Here, due to the close playing of the two, it is hard to say for sure if Joe Callicott was present, but claimed he was. At this same session, Joe recorded his only release as a soloist, ‘Travelling Mama Blues’, for which Garfield is credited as the author.

There are conflicting accounts about the date of Garfield’s death, most often given as 1959; however ‘The Mississippi Writers and Musicians Project’ gives the year as 1958. Several other accounts appear, but none can be verified.

    Load featured track - Garfield Akers - Dry land blues
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    Next time - Our featured artist of the week: ... Memphis Minnie
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