Bill Gaither (blues musician)

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Bill Gaither
Birth name William Arthur Gaither
Also known as "Little Bill" Gaither
Leroy's Buddy
Born (1910-04-21)April 21, 1910
Belmont, Bullitt County, Kentucky, U.S.
Died October 30, 1970(1970-10-30) (aged 60)
Indianapolis, U.S.
Genres Blues
Years active 1920s–1940s

William Arthur "Bill" Gaither (April 21, 1910 – October 30, 1970),[1] sometimes known as "Little Bill" Gaither or Leroy's Buddy,[2] was an American blues guitarist and singer.


Born in Belmont, Bullitt County, Kentucky,[1] Gaither recorded over one hundred songs in the 1930s for labels such as Decca and Okeh.[3] He often wrote and recorded with the pianist George "Honey" Hill. After his friend Leroy Carr's death in 1935, Gaither was often credited as "Leroy's Buddy".[4]

One of Gaither's most famous blues songs was "Champ Joe Louis", recorded on June 23, 1938,[5] the day after Louis won his rematch against Max Schmeling. Ethnomusicologists have cited Gaither among a group of important, but understudied, 20th century musicians.[6] His blues lyrics have been appreciated as poetry.[7]

Gaither ran a radio repair shop in Louisville, Kentucky, for some time.[1] He died in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1970,[1] and is buried in New Crown Cemetery in Indianapolis.[4]

He is not to be confused with another musician, William Augustus "Bill" Gaither (1927–1985), who recorded with Roy Milton.[8]

See also[edit]

  • The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber
  • The Blues, by H. Elmer, e.g. p. 49


  1. ^ a b c d Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues - A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers. p. 146. ISBN 978-0313344237. 
  2. ^ e.g., Decca 7818: Racket Blues / Wintertime Blues
  3. ^ Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues - From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 113. ISBN 1-85868-255-X. 
  4. ^ a b Steve Leggett (1910-04-21). "Bill Gaither | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-09-07. 
  5. ^ "WAIL! The CBZ Journal (Apr 2001)". Retrieved 2015-09-07. 
  6. ^ "Blues Research: Problems and Possibilities" Paul Oliver, Journal of Musicology Vol. 2 No. 4 (Autumn, 1983), pp. 377-390
  7. ^ Perfect in Their Art: Poems on Boxing from Homer to Ali Michael Waters, Robert Hedin, editors. ISBN 0-8093-2531-4. Southern Illinois Univ. Press. 2003. p. 47
  8. ^ Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues - A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers. p. 411. ISBN 978-0313344237. 

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