Bumble Bee Slim
Cephas & Wiggins
Davis, Rev. Gary
Fuller, Blind Boy
Holeman, John Dee
Howell, Peg Leg
McTell, Blind Willie
Full name: Joshua Daniel White
Other names: Tippy Barton; Pinewood
Tom; The Singing Christian
Born: Feb. 11, 1914 or 1915, in Greenville, SC
(some sources incorrectly list his birthplace as Greensboro,
Died: Sept. 5, 1969, Manhasset, NY
Instrument: Guitar (and vocals)
His father, Dennis White, was a preacher,
and his mother, Daisy Elizabeth Humphrey, sang in local
church choirs. Josh was one of eight children, and as a
child sang in the church choir (Church of God in the
Saints of Christ Church). As he grew older, he dropped out
of school to work with various street singers throughout
the southeastern United States. He sang with Blind Blake,
Blind Lemon, Willie Walker, and Blind Joe Taggart -- with
whom he recorded with -- and these musicians were his
major influences in music. White recorded blues, religious
songs, and folk music. He was a great technician on the
guitar, had a strong and dramatic voice, and exuded a
great deal of sex appeal. During the first half of his
life he was an important blues artist in the Piedmont
style and played primarily in the South. As White's music
began to progress and his musical tastes grew he felt the
need to move to the northern urban areas. He loved show
business, so the second half of his life he moved up North
to play in coffee shops and enjoy the exciting life of the
burgeoning folk scene. Although he lived the city life, he
never lost touch with his roots and always used them to
better his life and his experiences. Near the end of his
life, he began writing protest songs dealing with racial
discrimination and war. He is most remembered today for
his songs of social activism including "One Meatball",
"Jim Crow Train", and "Welfare Blues."
Bastin, Bruce. Red River Blues: The
Blues Tradition in the Southeast. Urbana: University
of Illinois Press,
Cohn, Lawrence. Nothing But the
Blues. New York, NY: Abbeville Press, 1993.
Harris, Sheldon. Blues Who's Who: A
Biographical Dictionary of Blues Singers. New
Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1979.
Jones, Leroi. Blues People.
NY: William Morrow and Company, 1963.
Oliver, Paul, ed. The Blackwell Guide
to Blues Records. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Reference,
1989. (brief mention)
Shelton, Robert, and Walter Raim. The
Josh White Song Book. Quadrangle Books, 1963.
Wald, Elijah. Josh White: Society
Blues. University of Massachusetts Press, 2000.
White, Josh. The Josh White Guitar. Ivan
Denning, Michael. "Radical Out
of Carolina." The Village Voice 42:2 (January
"Josh White; a farewell." Sing
Out (Winter 1970): 9
"Max Jones on Josh White (Part
1)." Blues Unlimited 55 (July 1986): 16-17
"Max Jones on Josh White (Part
2)." Blues Unlimited 56 (August 1968): 15-16
McLean, Don. "A Tribute to Josh
White, Bluesman, Songster, and Activist Ahead of His
Time." Acoustic Guitar 9 (August 1998): 70-76
Milkowski, Billl. Screen Test:
"Blues Up the Country: The Country Blues
Legacy." Jazz Times-America's Jazz Magazine
26:2 (March 1996): 75
Recordings on CD
White, Josh. Blues Singer 1932-1936.
White, Josh. The Legendary Josh White.
White, Josh. Free & Equal Blues.
White, Josh. Complete Recorded Works,
Vols. 1-6. Document.
All Music Guide <http://allmusic.com>
Illustrated Josh White Discography.
Accessed 22 Nov. 2003.
Elijah Wald's Josh White Page. Accessed 10
Dec. 2003. <http://www.elijahwald.com/josh.html>
Above stamp issued by the
U.S. Postal Service, June 26, 1998.