Blind Joe Reynolds

Blind Joe Reynolds

Blind Joe Reynolds

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"Blind Joe" Reynolds (1900 or 1904 - March 10, 1968), was a singer-songwriter.

Reynolds is thought to have been born in Tallulah, Louisiana in 1904, although his death certificate stated his birthplace as Arkansas in 1900. He was blinded by a shotgun blast to the face in Louisiana in the mid-late 1920s, which resulted in the physical loss of his eyes. Despite this handicap, Blind Joe became known for his distinctive bottleneck style as well as his reported accuracy with a pistol, with which it is said he could judge the position of a target by sound alone.

Reynolds was known to be outspoken and flamboyant, often using his music as a medium to attack society.

Aliases

It is uncertain what name Reynolds' was given at birth. Whilst it is widely thought to have been Joe Sheppard, his nephew Henry Millage claimed it was Joe Leonard. Throughout his career, Reynolds travelled the country performing under various aliases as a way of evading the police, as he had served two jail sentences in his early life, as well as "escaping enemies".

Recording career

After years of travelling and performing on street corners, Reynolds was eventually discovered in 1929 by musical talent scout H.C. Speir and is known to have entered the studio at least twice, recording four songs on each occasion.

In November 1929, Speir took Reynolds to a small studio in Grafton, Wisconsin where he recorded the songs "Cold Woman Blues", "Nehi Blues", "Ninety Nine...
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