Joshua Barnes Howell, known as Peg Leg Howell (March 5, 1888 - August 11, 1966), was an African American blues singer and guitarist, who connected early country blues and the later 12-bar style.
He was born on a farm in Eatonton, GA and taught himself guitar at the age of 21. Over time he became skilled in pre-Piedmont finger picking and slide guitar techniques. He continued working on the farm until he was shot in a fight, as a result of which he lost his right leg and began working full-time as a musician. In 1923 he moved to Atlanta, Georgia and began playing on street corners, but also served a period in prison for bootlegging liquor.
In 1926, he was heard playing on the streets of Atlanta and was recorded for the first time by Columbia Records. They released "New Prison Blues", written while in prison and the first country blues to be issued on the label. Over the next three years Columbia recorded him on several occasions, often accompanied by a small group including Henry Williams on guitar and Eddie Anthony on fiddle. His recorded repertoire covered ballads, ragtime, and jazz, as well as blues.
Peg Leg Howell g, v / Henry Williams g / Eddie Anthony fiddle.
Recorded in Atlanta in April, 1927.
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