I love a musician with a good story.
Abner Jay was born (presumably) on July 15th, 1921 in Irwin County, Georgia. He worked for white plantation owners with his grandfather. When Abner was 8 years old, he started performing live with his grandfather at medicine shows. He started playing banjo by 10, and became a one man band at 14. He preformed mostly for rich white plantation owners, and received no pay (all money went to his dad...in fact, Abner didn't receive any money for his work till after he was 21). At 15, he started working on a "marijuana farm" and continued preforming. He later became a pimp and toured the country pimping and playing music. He describes himself as "a low down blues singer, heavy on drugs and liquor." He is also known to refer to himself as the black "Will Rogers" or "Bob Dylan," and prides himself in playing the "original way," like his grandfather.
Abner has had 7 wives (3 of which died of drug overdoses), and 16 children. He only played his grandfathers banjo, made in 1748 by slaves. He has preformed with Lil' Richard, Otis Reddings, and James Brown among many others.
To be honest, the more I write about Abner Jay, the more I realize that it is not nearly as interesting as the pamphlet and biography that is included in the LP version of the record (which I strong suggest you pick up).
There is a rough purity to Abner Jay's music. The recordings are really great sounding, as though he is preforming right in the room with you. This record is highly recommended for anyone interested in American roots music. In fact, its kinda necessary.
A1 - I'm So Depressed.mp3