Bishop Perry Tillis
Perry Tillis was born July 29, 1919, in Elba, Alabama, and began playing his brand of rambling blues at a very early age. He continued playing the blues and singing gospel, despite going blind, up until his death on November 3, 2004. In the '40s Tillis played the Chicago blues circuit alongside all-time greats likes Muddy Waters and Furry Lewis. However, when a revelation convinced him it was the devil's music, he moved back home and began preaching the gospel. In 1972 Swedish music archivist Begnt Olsson tracked down Tillis down at his church in Samson, Alabama, and recorded these tracks over three sessions. He was frail and old when Olsson found him, but he played the guitar, both electric and acoustic, with a mosquito-like fragility that is truly transcendent. In an age when major pre-war blues players were being rediscovered, unknown geniuses like Tillis were still playing a style of blues (gospel) that touched upon greatness and kept alive the traditions that were inspiring the likes of the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton.