Garfield Akers !
I'd rather see you dead, buried in some cypress grove…
The throbbing guitar sound of Garfield Akers was a primary influence on subsequent generations of Mississippi bluesmen, with the likes of John Lee Hooker and Robert Wilkins citing him as an influence!
Born around 1902 in Bates, Mississippi, Akers remains a shadowy figure; after honing his skills at local dances and house parties, he relocated to the Hernando area, where he worked by day as a sharecropper. After moving on to Memphis, in 1929 he made his first Vocalion label recordings at the Peabody, accompanied by guitarist Joe Callicott; between this first date and a 1930 session for Brunswick, four Akers performances still exist - his two-part signature "Cottonfield Blues," "Jumpin' and Shoutin' Blues," and "Dough Roller Blues," one of the first variations on Hambone Willie Newbern's seminal "Roll and Tumble."
His most well-known song is his debut, the Cottonfield Blues, which Don Kent praised with the words "only a handful of guitar duets in all blues match the incredible drive, intricate rhythms and ferocious intensity" and called Akers "one of the greatest vocalists in blues history". Michael Gray appreciated it as "the birth of rock ’n’ roll … from 1929!"
Nothing is known about Akers after the pair split as a performing duo although it is believed that he died around the end of the 1950's or the beginning of the 1960's, possibly in Memphis...
Garfield Akers :
* Dough Roller Blues *
* Cottonfield Blues (Part 2) *