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Blind Teddy Darby

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  • Born: Henderson, KY
  • Years Active: 1920s, 1930s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Blinded by glaucoma at the age of 20, Blind Teddy Darby (born Theodore Roosevelt Darby) turned to music in the 1920s. Often accompanied by his cousin, Tom Webb, on piano, Darby documented his hard life through such tunes as "Lawdy Lawdy Worried Blues," "She Thinks She's Slick," "Bought a Bottle of Gin," and "Bootleggin' Ain't Good No More." Of the 26 tunes that he recorded between September 7, 1929, and April 30, 1937, only "I'm Gonna Wreck Your Vee Eight (Vee Eight Blues)" and "Pokino Blues" remain unreleased, as are several tunes that he recorded in 1964. Although he was taught to play the guitar by his mother, Darby focused on less-creative activities as a youngster. He spent a year in a reformatory and a year in a city workhouse for selling moonshine. Moving to St. Louis in the early '20s, Darby turned to the guitar after losing his sight. After mastering the stringed instrument and moving to East Saint Louis, he hooked up with influential bluesman Peetie Wheatstraw, accompanying him when his regular guitarist, Charley Jordan, was not available. Darby's involvement with the blues came to an end with the stabbing murder of Webb. Renouncing music, he became an ordained minister at the King Solomon Holy House of Prayer. Folk musician Howie Bursen covered Darby's tune "Built on the Ground" on his 1980 album, Cider in the Kitchen.