Peg Leg Howell

Decades: 1990s 2000s


Joshua Barnes Howel, 5 March 1888, Eatonton, Georgia, USA, d. 11 August 1966, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Howell’s music is a complex mixture of blues, street vendors’ cries, gamblers’ argot, fragments of narrative ballads and, in the company of his ‘Gang’ (usually guitarist Henry Williams and fiddler Eddie Anthony), white fiddle pieces, ragtime, and other dance music. As a soloist, he sang introspective pieces, with a plaintive delivery, accompanied by short melodic fragments on guitar. His work with his group was very different, the lyrics delivered in a low growl as part of perhaps the liveliest, and rowdiest, party music on record. Also a bootlegger (for which he served time in jail), Howell abandoned music in 1934 when Anthony died, and was very ill when found in 1963. An album was released that year, primarily to generate royalties.

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