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J.B. Smith

Johnnie B. Smith was documented in the Tx State Penitentiary within the 60s while portion his fourth jail term, among 45 years for murder. He was a robust work-song head, but his most significant recordings had been nine lengthy, unaccompanied solos, which he contacted as elements of a single melody. Their 132 stanzas make use of fundamentally the same melody, at differing tempos, with differing amounts of adornment. This melody, which is apparently exclusive to Smith, posesses four-line stanza, generally ABB’A’ with B’A’ a reversal of Stomach, resulting in some dazzling poetic effects. Certainly, Smith was an extraordinary poet from the jail experience, using some common lines and verses, but functioning them into music that are generally primary compositions, thematically coherent, and filled with poignant pictures of confinement, loneliness as well as the slow duration of time. Smith was paroled in 1967, and do some preaching in Amarillo, but came back to jail due to a parole violation.

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