13. Scott Dunbar
Born in 1904, this expert fisherman from Mississippi made his first guitar out of a cigar box and went on the become the most beloved entertainer in his hometown of Lake Mary. He only released one album in his lifetime, "From Lake Mary," which was buried in time until Fat Possum Records reissued it in but as we found out, there is much more to the story. Little information about Scott Dunbar is out there. In the AllMusic entry on "From Lake Mary," it says that it was "Recorded on the obscure Japanese label Ahura Mazda in 1970, From Lake Mary is the only known document of Scott Dunbar's music. Taped in what is clearly the room of a house, the album retains a back-porch feel." In the course of my research for this episode, I discovered that every part of that statement is 100% FALSE! I spoke with (Karl) Michael Wolfe who facilitated Dunbar's only LP and penned its liner notes, his youngest daughter Jessie Mae who told me about her family's life on Lake Mary, and a fellow fan who helped me in touch with Jessie Mae. This episode also includes excerpts from a rare 1977 TV news feature on Scott, and quotations from the book "Been Here and Gone" by Frederick Ramsey, Jr. If you like real home-grown blues, look no further as we go searching through time for Scott Dunbar.
"Sweet Mama Rollin' Stone" was a crowd favorite that Scott wrote when he was a young man. This is the version that appeared on his album "From Lake Mary" (1971), which you can still buy from Fat Possum Records.
This is an earlier, even more obscure recording from the 1950s of his tune "Jaybird," a longer song that includes lots of laughter and storytelling:
Here is a link to the raw footage of Scott dunbar's 1977 interview on WAFB-TV at his Woodville, Mississippi home: