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Washboard Willie

b. William Paden Hensley, 24 July 1909, Phoenix Town, Alabama, USA. Elevated in Georgia, where he started drumming at age six, Washboard Willie shifted to Detroit in 1945, and quickly became a fixture for the town’s blues picture, playing the pubs along with his Super Suds Of Tempo, and making periodic records for 3rd party record maker Joe Von Fight. They are of limited curiosity, as Von Fight could only account minimal accompaniment (acoustic guitar, piano and bass acoustic guitar), as opposed to the horn section that Willie’s jump-blues required. His back-up focus on ‘Sibling Will’ Hairston’s ‘Alabama Bus’, about the Montgomery bus boycott in the Civil Privileges movement of the first 60s, is usually a demo of the actual washboard and its own connected kitchen implements can perform. In 1973 he made an appearance in European countries, confirming personally that he was a energetic and extrovert entertainer.

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