Check out these new and used Blind Boy Fuller vinyl records LPs for sale. Blind Boy Fuller was born in North Carolina around 1904. As a child, he learned guitar from the older singers that lived in his rural area. He started to lose his vision as a teenager, which had originally been attributed to ulcers, but later it was revealed the source of his blindness was untreated neonatal conjunctivitis. He was completely blind by 1928 and started playing in the streets to earn any money he could scrape up. A record store manager was able to get him a recording session with the American Recording Company in 1935, and this led to a career eventually working with several labels. Blind Boy Fuller’s singing is characterized as rough and straightforward, and his lyrics are often explicit, drawing from his troubled life as a blind musician trying to earn money on the street. He became known for Hokum songs such as I Want Some of Your Pie and Get Your Ya Yas Out. Fuller died in 1941 from infection, and his protégé Brownie McGhee recorded a tribute song The Death of Blind Boy Fuller for Okeh Records. We recommend starting your vinyl collection with his Greatest Hits 1935-1938. Our inventory is constantly changing, so check back later, or browse our list of vinyl from blues musicians.
Blind Boy Fuller: The Piedmont Blues Virtuoso
Blind Boy Fuller, born Fulton Allen on July 10, 1907, in Wadesboro, North Carolina, was a seminal figure in the world of Piedmont blues. His intricate guitar work, soulful vocals, and prolific recording career left an indelible mark on the blues genre. Despite the challenges of blindness and a short life, Blind Boy Fuller’s contributions to music continue to inspire and influence artists today.
Early Life and Blindness
Fulton Allen lost his sight as a child, likely due to complications of smallpox. Despite this adversity, he showed an early aptitude for music and learned to play the guitar at a young age. His blindness did not deter him from pursuing his passion for music.
Piedmont Blues Style
Blind Boy Fuller became a master of the Piedmont blues style, which is characterized by intricate fingerpicking patterns and a more ragtime-influenced, syncopated guitar style. He was a virtuoso on the guitar, known for his dexterity, alternating bass patterns, and complex fingerpicking, which set him apart in the blues world.
Recording Career and Prolific Output
In the early 1930s, Blind Boy Fuller began his recording career, which would prove to be prolific. His recordings often featured him as a solo artist, accompanied by his guitar, or in collaboration with other prominent musicians of the era, such as harmonica player Sonny Terry. His music was marked by its energetic and engaging style, which resonated with a wide audience.
Signature Songs and Hits
Blind Boy Fuller had several hits during his career, including “Step It Up and Go,” “Truckin’ My Blues Away,” and “Mama, Let Me Lay It on You.” These songs showcased his skillful guitar work, lively vocals, and engaging songwriting. His music often touched on themes of everyday life, relationships, and the struggles faced by African Americans during the Great Depression.
Collaboration with Sonny Terry
Blind Boy Fuller’s partnership with harmonica virtuoso Sonny Terry was particularly influential. Their recordings together showcased a remarkable musical synergy. Terry’s harmonica and Fuller’s guitar complemented each other, creating a dynamic and exciting sound. Their collaboration left a lasting impact on the blues genre and laid the groundwork for the later emergence of the folk-blues movement.
Impact and Influence
Blind Boy Fuller’s influence extended to future generations of blues and folk musicians. His intricate guitar style, soulful vocals, and the energy of his recordings served as a source of inspiration for artists like Brownie McGhee, Muddy Waters, and many others. The complex fingerpicking patterns he employed in his music have become hallmarks of the Piedmont blues style.
Personal Struggles and Early Passing
Blind Boy Fuller faced personal challenges during his life, including issues related to alcohol and health. Tragically, his life was cut short when he passed away on February 13, 1941, at the age of 33. Despite his relatively brief career, his contributions to the blues genre and his influence on fellow musicians were profound.
Blind Boy Fuller’s legacy as a virtuoso of the Piedmont blues endures in his recordings and his lasting impact on the world of blues music. His intricate guitar work, compelling vocals, and influential collaborations with Sonny Terry remain a testament to his musical prowess. Although his life was marked by adversity, his dedication to the blues and his mastery of the Piedmont style have left an indelible mark on the genre, ensuring that his contribution continues to inspire and influence musicians today.