Casey Bill Weldon
|Casey Bill Weldon|
|Birth name||Casey Bill Weldon|
December 10, 1909|
Pine Bluff, Arkansas, United States
|Died||circa 1970 ?|
|Instruments||Vocals, slide guitar|
|Labels||Victor, Vocalion, Bluebird|
Casey Bill Weldon (December 10, 1909 – circa 1970?) was an American country blues musician, born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas who later lived and worked in Chicago was known as one of the great early pioneers of the slide guitar. He played upbeat, hokum and country blues tunes, both as a solo artist and as a member of the Memphis Jug Band. Playing a National steel guitar flat on his lap Hawaiian style, "Casey Bill" Weldon's was known as the "Hawaiian Guitar Wizard". He was married to singer and guitarist Memphis Minnie in the '20s. Weldon played in medicine shows before beginning his recording career in 1927 for Victor.
In 1927 Weldon made a recording with Charles Polk and other members of what would become the Memphis Jug Band for Victor Records. In October of that year, Victor brought them to Atlanta where they recorded several sides, including "Kansas City Blues". In 1930, the last year of the Memphis Jug Band's contract with Victor, the band recorded 20 sides. The contract ended after a final recording session in November 1930 in Memphis just before the financial crash of the 1930s bankrupted Victor. Weldon went on to cut over 60 sides for Victor, Bluebird, and Vocalion. He was also an active session guitarist appearing on records by Teddy Darby, Bumble Bee Slim, Peetie Wheatstraw, and Memphis Minnie. On Memphis Minnie's last recording for Bluebird Records in October 1935, Weldon accompanied her for the first time. He played on two sides, "When the Sun Goes Down, Part 2" and "Hustlin' Woman Blues."  He scored solo hits with his two most well known songs, "Somebody Changed the Lock on My Door" and "We Gonna Move (to the Outskirts of Town)."
In October 1927, when the Victor field recording unit visited Atlanta, Georgia, he recorded two sides, including a chilling, haunting song called "Turpentine Blues", which would have left him immortalized if he had never recorded again. He did not enter another recording studio until eight years later, when he laid down many recordings for Vocalion Records. Weldon also played with Charlie Burse and the Picanniny Jug Band and the Brown Bombers of Swing. Considering the fact that most slide guitarists of the era went unrecorded, Weldon maintains a healthy amount of recorded material for aficionados to appreciate.
After his divorce from Memphis Minnie, he married blues singer Geeshie Wiley. They disappeared from the public eye soon after and he stopped recording by 1938. His date of death is unknown, though assumed to be sometime in the 1960s.
- Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music (1st ed.). Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 181. ISBN 1-904041-96-5.
- Top Ten Slide Blues Recordings (Retrieved October 21, 2006)
- Charters, Samuel (1977). The Blues Makers. New York: Da Capo Press. pp. 17–22, Part II. ISBN 0-306-80438-7.
- Garon, Paul and Beth (1992). Woman With Guitar:Memphis Minnie's Blues. New York: Da Capo Press. p. 39. ISBN 0-306-80460-3.
- Casey Bill Weldon - Biography (Retrieved October 10, 2006)