Hambone Willie Newbern

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William "Hambone Willie" Newbern (1901 – April 15, 1965)[1] was an American guitar-playing country blues musician.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Few details are known of his life. He is believed to have been born in Haywood County, Tennessee,[1] close to Brownsville along Tennessee State Route 19.[3] He was reported to have played with Yank Rachell and Sleepy John Estes (from whom most of our knowledge of Hambone was gained) in the 1920s and 1930s.[4] He recorded one of the earliest known versions of the blues standard "Rollin' and Tumblin'" in 1929. He only recorded six tracks in total, which also included, "She Could Toodle-Oo" and "Hambone Willie's Dreamy-Eyed Woman's Blues."[4]

Newbern was reputedly a hot-tempered man, but reports that he was beaten to death in a prison brawl, around 1947,[4] are disputed by researchers Bob Eagle and Eric LeBlanc who assert that he died at home in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1965.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues - A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers. p. 240. ISBN 978-0313344237. 
  2. ^ Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music (1st ed.). Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 181. ISBN 1-904041-96-5. 
  3. ^ A History of Tennessee Arts, University of Tennessee Press
  4. ^ a b c "Biography by Jason Ankeny". Allmusic.com. Retrieved September 4, 2011. 

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