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Jesse Wadley

Guitarist and singer Jesse Wadley recorded five tracks ("Alabama Prison Blues," "St. James Infirmary," and three takes of "Do It in Weldon Yards") for John Lomax at Bellwood Prison in Atlanta, GA, on December 11, 1934. Of particular interest is Wadley's personalized blues song, "Alabama Prison Blues," which appears to be offhand and improvised, but sports a jaunty guitar line and carefully considered lyrics. Lomax had apparently asked Wadley to sing him a song that explained how the singer ended up in prison, and "Alabama Prison Blues" was the result. The fact that Wadley was in prison in Georgia and the song details how he ended up in prison in Alabama hints that perhaps the bluesman had seen his share of previous incarcerations. ~ Steve Leggett
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Penitentiary Blues: Songs To Do Hard Time By

1. Penitentiary Blues

2. He's In The Jailhouse Now

3. Midnight Special

4. Parchman Farm Blues

5. Chain Gang Blues

6. Christmas In Jail, Ain't That A Pain

7. Ball & Chain For Me

8. Alabama Prison Blues

9. Doin' A Stretch

10. Prison Blues Come Down On Me

11. Bad Luck Soul

12. County Jail Special

13. Your Funeral & My Trial (Live)

14. Chain Gang Blues (Live)

15. Violent Love

16. Prison Bars All Around Me

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