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Ishman Bracey
Born January 9, 1901(1901-01-09)
Byram, Mississippi, United States
Died February 12, 1970 (aged 69)
Jackson, Mississippi, United States
Genres Delta blues, country blues, blues
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1928 - 1931

Ishman Bracey (January 9, 1901 – February 12, 1970[1]) was an American blues singer and guitarist from Mississippi, considered one of the most important early delta blues performers. With Tommy Johnson, he was the center of a small Jackson, Mississippi group of blues musicians in the 1920s. His name is incorrectly spelled "Ishmon" in some sources and on some records.[1]

Contents

Biography

Bracey was born in Byram, Mississippi, and started playing at local dances and parties around 1917. He also worked as a waterboy on the Illinois Central Railroad.[1] He first recorded in Memphis in 1928 for the Victor label, with Charlie McCoy on second guitar, recording two sessions in February and August that year.[2]

At that time his style had not fully formed and his performances varied considerably, probably in his attempts to become more commercially successful. Bracey's blues "Saturday Blues" and "Left Alone Blues", used interesting variations in the usual three line verse form. Bracey was one of the few Mississippi bluesmen who sang with a nasal tone without embellishment. In "Saturday Blues" he used on of the conventional infidelity themes, but he changed the form of the verses to fit a newer melodic concept. His lyrics loosen up enough to sing about skin creams and powder advertised as being able to lighten dark skin.

When he recorded in 1930 his voice had darkened and he tried to use a falsetto voice in "Woman Woman Blues" with an octave leap in the second line, but the effect was clumsy and unsteady.

He recorded again in 1931 for Paramount Records with a group called the New Orleans Nehi Boys, which included guitarist Charles Taylor. Bracey's total recorded output is only 16 songs, and original copies of his 78-rpm records are among the most valued items sought by blues collectors. "Trouble Hearted Blues" and "Left Alone Blues" are his best known songs.[1]

He was an associate of Tommy Johnson, and the pair performed together in medicine shows in the 1930s. By the time he was "rediscovered" in the late 1950s, he had become a preacher and a performer of religious songs, and was uninterested in recording or discussing his time as a blues performer. However, he did help in the rediscovery of his contemporary Skip James.[1]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e "Biography by Uncle Dave Lewis". Allmusic.com. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&searchlink=ISHMAN|BRACEY&sql=11:0cfuxqe5ldhe~T1. Retrieved December 25, 2009.  
  2. ^ Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 139. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.  

External links

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Simple English

Ishman Bracey (January 9, 1901 - February 12, 1970), was a blues singer and guitarist from Mississippi.

Contents

Life

Early Life

Bracey was born in Byram, Mississippi. He started playing at local dances and parties in about 1917. He also worked as a waterboy on the Illinois Central Railroad. His first recorded song was in Memphis in 1928. He played as lead guitar with Charlie McCoy on rhythm guitar.

Songs performed

In the 1920s, Bracey had not yet started playing delta blues and each of his songs were different. However, he was one of the only Mississippi blues musicians to sing with a nasal voice. He often sang about skin creams and powders which would lighten dark skin.

Later life

When he recorded in 1930, his voice had become deeper. This meant that he could not sing high enough for some of his songs and the songs had to be changed. He recorded after in 1931 for Paramount Records with a group called The New Orleans Nehi Boys, which had a guitarist called Charles Taylor.

Songs

Bracey has recorded 16 songs in all, the original copies of his 78-rpm records are some of the most valuable things in blues collecting history. "Trouble Hearted Blues" and "Left Alone Blues" are his best known songs.


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