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Eddie Mapp's career is unfortunately rather typical of many blues players in the 1920s and 1930s - after making a few records, he was found dead in the street in Atlanta, Georgia, at the age of twenty. This means that he was just seventeen or eighteen years old at the time of his only recording session in 19291, in the company of guitarists Guy Lumpkin and Slim Barton and harp player James Moore. Mapp's playing on these sides is very mature for such a young musician and covers a range of different styles. Rather than the fast, tight playing of then current hits such as "It's Tight Like That" and "Careless Love" I have transcribed his playing from the slow, field-holler style song "Wicked Treatin' Blues", which is performed with just Mapp's harp and Slim Barton's voice. The tune itself is a traditional one, the melody being related to such tunes as "Reuben", "500 Miles", DeFord Bailey's "Evening Prayer Blues" and a tune called "Stewball". The song is notated here for a C harp in first position and I have not used a time signature or bar lines, as the song is very free flowing. Many books will tell you that first position is rarely used by blues harmonica players, but the low octave straight harp used on this tune was a very popular style of playing on early blues recordings.

"Stewball" is also played in a minor key and though it has rarely been recorded this way, many harp players remember learning this tune to get the hang of the minor key position, so I have included a version of "Stewball" arranged for a C harp in the key of E minor.


1. The complete recordings from that session are available on Georgia Blues 1928 - 1933 (Document DOCD-5110). Click here for more details from Amazon.com, or click here for more details from Amazon.co.uk

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