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Saturday Blues by Ishman Bracey

Ishman Bracey was born in Byram, Mississippi in 1901 and began playing music when he was a teenager.  H. C. Speir, a talent scout who owned a music store in Jackson, Mississippi, heard Bracey singing Shaggy Hound one Saturday morning on Mill Street.  Speir said, “That will go over,”  and arranged a  recording session with Victor.  In Memphis on February 4, 1928, the day after his friend, Tommy Johnson, cut Big Road Blues, Bracey recorded Shaggy Hound under the name of Saturday Blues.  Both songs became classics.  A couple of years later, Ishman again recorded, this time for Paramount Records in Grafton, Wisconsin.  Ishman and Tommy along with their friend, Charlie McCoy, were an integral part of the Jackson music scene for many years.  Late in the 1940s, Bracey joined the church and in 1950 became a preacher.  Though he played gospel songs on his guitar after that Ishman Bracey never again recorded. 

Downtown Jackson is noisy late this Friday afternoon.  It's about "get-off" time.  We find a bench for Eddie to sit and perform Ishman's Saturday Blues, on the corner of Mill Street & Hamilton.  The traffic noise makes it difficult to hear well enough to get the guitar in tune, but when Eddie finally does, we have to wait for a few four wheeled boom boxes to finish dancing around the block.  We turn on the recorder just as an airliner passes overhead.  Halfway through the recording a slow moving train rattles past on the tracks the other side of Mill Street.  Naturally we'd thought, like many of the old blues players before us, that things would get easier when we got into town.