Alec Seward

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Alec Seward
Birth nameAlexander T. Seward
Also known asSlim Seward
Guitar Slim
Blues Servant Boy
King Blues
Georgia Slim
Duke Bayou
Born(1901-03-16)March 16, 1901
Charles City County, Virginia, United States
DiedMay 11, 1972(1972-05-11) (aged 71)
New York, United States
GenresCountry blues, Piedmont blues[1]
Occupation(s)Singer, guitarist, songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
Years active1924–1972
Associated actsLouis Hayes

Alec Seward (born Alexander T. Seward, March 16, 1901 – May 11, 1972)[2] was an American Piedmont blues and country blues singer, guitarist and songwriter.[1] Some of his records were released under pseudonyms, such as Guitar Slim, Blues Servant Boy, King Blues and Georgia Slim.[1] His best-remembered recordings are "Creepin' Blues" and "Some People Say".[3]


Seward, one of fourteen siblings, was born in Charles City County, Virginia.[1] Like Gabriel Brown, Ralph Willis and Brownie McGhee, he relocated from the South to New York, in his case in 1924.[4][5]

Seward befriended Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry and retained his Piedmont blues styling despite changes in musical trends. He and the blues musician Louis Hayes (who later became a minister in northern New Jersey) performed together, variously billed as the Blues Servant Boys, Guitar Slim and Jelly Belly, and the Back Porch Boys. During the 1940s and 1950s Seward played and recorded with Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie, McGhee and Terry. Around 1947 Seward, Guthrie, and Terry recorded several chain gang songs, including "Chain Gang Special", and some other older songs adapted to having chain gang themes. They were later released on the compilation album Best of the War Years.[1]

Under his own name, Seward issued Creepin' Blues (1965, Bluesville), with harmonica accompaniment by Larry Johnson. Later in the decade Seward worked in concert and at folk blues festivals.[1]

Seward died of natural causes in May 1972, at the age of 71, in New York City.[1]

He is not to be confused with Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones, Guitar Slim, Jr., James "Guitar Slim" Stephenson or Norman "Guitar Slim" Green.[6]

Selected discography[edit]

  • Creepin' Blues (1965, Bluesville)
  • Late One Saturday Evening (1996, Blues Alliance)
  • The Back Porch Boys (2002, Delmark)[7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Campbell, Al. "Alec Seward". Retrieved February 7, 2010.
  2. ^ Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues: A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara, California: Praeger. p. 132. ISBN 978-0313344237.
  3. ^ Doc Rock. "The 1970s". Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  4. ^ Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books. p. 190. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.
  5. ^ Bastin, Bruce (1995). Red River Blues. Champaign: University of Illinois Press. p. 333. ISBN 0-252-01213-5.
  6. ^ Henderson, Alex. "Alec Seward, The Back Porch Boys". Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  7. ^ "Alec Seward: Discography: Albums". Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  8. ^ "Alec Seward: Discography: Compilations". Retrieved 2014-01-25.