Geek Of The Week: Scrapper Blackwell

Geek Of The Week: Scrapper Blackwell

When you think of great blues musicians, most people think of Buddy Guy, BB King, and others… but few know the name Francis “Scrapper” Blackwell. This resourceful music geek was born in South Carolina just after the turn of the 20th century. Blackwell’s family was poor, so he built his first guitar using bailing wire, a piece of an old mandolin, and a cigar box. He then taught himself how to play. By the time Blackwell was a teenager, he knew he wanted to be a professional musician. Though his birth name was Francis, he always performed as Scrapper Blackwell.

Blackwell traveled as far as Chicago to perform his songs and most say he had an major influence on the Chicago Blues style. Blackwell met Leroy Carr in Indianapolis during the 1920s and the two formed a duo that would gain him a career. In fact, Carr and Blackwell had the most popular blues hit in 1928 with How Long, How Long Blues. Alas, Carr died of alcohol poisoning in 1935 and shortly after Blackwell took a hiatus from music. In the late 1950s, he returned to the studio to record music again. Unfortunately, Blackwell was mugged and murdered in an Indianapolis alleyway in 1962. It’s a tragic story but this music geek’s influence can still be heard in modern blues music. We humbly salute this resourceful music geek and everyone he inspired.

About the Author

avatar KALE: A geek who works in the IT Security field and lives in Dallas, TX. He is also a music geek who has played in several local bands. Previous to his IT career, Kale worked as a photojournalist. He brings technical advice and artistic counterpoint to the podcast.