Like so many other Delta blues musicians of the 1930s and 40s, rock music owes a debt of gratitude to the works of Blind Willie McTell.
Considered one of the finest guitarists and vocalists of the era, noteworthy for his then unheard of usage of a 12-string guitar, artists and bands from The Allman Brothers to The White Stripes to Taj Mahal have listed the blind bluesman as a key influence. From the start of his career in 1927, McTell cut numerous singles for Victor Records, and maintained a noteworthy level of popularity in his home of Atlanta, but like many of his contemporaries, his career skidded to a halt during World War II. McTell left music during the 1950s and later passed of a brain hemmorage in 1959. A decade before Blind Willie's passing, a brief resurgence of interest in country blues led him to Atlantic Records to cut a 15-song session of tracks, of which only two were released as a single, to little commercial success. These tracks would later be reissued in 1972 as Atlanta Twelve String, which vividly captured the veteran bluesman at his finest. McTell is equal parts somber, reflective, melancholy, raucous, and freewheeling on tracks such as ""Kill It Kid"", ""Dying Crapshooter's Blues"", ""I Got To Cross The River Jordan"", and ""Broke Down Engine"", which would notably be covered by Bob Dylan.