Elizabeth Cotten

Genres: Blues Folk Music Videos & Concerts World Music
Descriptive "tags": blues folk female vocalists americana guitar Powered by AudioScrobbler
Decades Active: 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
Links online: Allmusic VIAF Wikidata Wikidata Wikipedia Wikipedia

Biography

5 January 1893, Carrboro, North Caolina, USA, d. 29 June 1987, Syracuse, New York, USA. Raised in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Cotten had wanted a guitar from a very early age. As a result, she saved enough to buy a $3.75 Stella Demonstrator guitar. Without recourse to formal lessons, she taught herself to play in an eccentric style using just two fingers. To complicate matters, she played a guitar strung for a right-handed player, but played it upside down, as she was left-handed. ‘Freight Train’ was written by Cotten when she was still just 12 years old. Being so young, and coming from a God-fearing family, she was told that it was her duty to serve the Lord and so put aside the guitar until the late 40s. Married at 15, she was later divorced and moved to Washington, DC to look for work. She was employed as a domestic in Maryland for Ruth Crawford Seeger, the wife of ethnomusicologist Charles Seeger. One day she played ‘Freight Train’ in the...

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