San Francisco Bay Blues
Folk-blues artist Jesse Fuller (1896-1976) was a street musician who is best known for his song, “San Francisco Bay Blues”, the original version of which is included on Move on Down the Line. This reissue combines recordings from 1959 with a session made for the Topic label in London in 1965. Fuller sings infectiously with a happy voice whether he croons about killing his woman and going to jail (“Ninety Nine Years and One Dark Day”) or playing a children’s ditty (“Animal Fair”). He strums his 12-string Martin guitar as a rhythm instrument, beats the sock cymbals to keep the tempo moving, and energetically blows the kazoo and harmonica. Fuller also plays a gadget of his own invention, the “fotdella”, a foot-operated bass. The musical performances are animated and charming, even though Fuller was known as a difficult personality in life.