Jim Bunkley
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Jim Bunkley
Vol. 17 of the George Mitchell collection
Fat Possum
33 1/3 rpm 7" EP
$5
I like Jim Bunkley's style. When he uses the bottleneck on "Oh Red #2", he has a very physical and exciting approach, seemingly winging it even when he's probably not. He sings about "Them Greasy Greens" in a way that suggests he's done this at a thousand parties but everyone still gets a kick out of it, him included. He's also effective at quieter, more measured blues, as on "Jack of Diamonds".

"Jim Bunkley lived in a small tar-papered house he bragged was his own, in Geneva, Georgia, his birthplace. He was 'eight years old when they took the census in 1920.' It was about that time he made friends with the guitar. 'When I was about eight, my brother had one, and me and my nine year-old sister used to play it. Us couldn't hold it. Had it hanging up 'side of the wall and we'd get up on a chair and play it. Everyone in my family could play - we had five boys and four girls.'

"When he 'got up in age,' Bunkley was about the best known musician around Talbot County. He recalled the many times he walked away with prizes offered at a theater in nearby Junction City. 'I was rough then,' he said. 'I had on a great big ole cowboy hat and I got up there on the stage and cracked a whole lot of jokes and then played. I win all that money, too.'" - George Mitchell
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Jim Bunkley / George Henry Bussey
The George Mitchell Collection
Fat Possum
LP
$14

“This 17-track collection of stripped down traditional blues songs performed by Jim Bunkley and George Henry Bussey was recorded by George Mitchell in Geneva & Waverly Hall, GA, in 1969. Jim Bunkley, born & raised in Geneva, GA, ‘made friends with the guitar’ at age eight. The self-proclaimed best known musician in Talbot County, Bunkley would take the stage with a great big ole cowboy hat, cracked a whole lot of jokes, & then played his heart out. George Henry Bussey was a woodworker, born near Waverly Hall, GA, about 15 miles from Geneva, where Bunkley lived. Although coming from a musical family in which everyone seemed to play an instrument & sing, Bussey didn't start playing the guitar until he was 18. ‘I listened to a lot of Blind Boy Fuller's records, but I wouldn't try to play it like he played it. I just played it in my own way.’” - Fat Possum. Download included. Hear Bunkley's Them Greasy Greens, Black Gal (with Lottie Kate Bunkley), and Bussey's Blues Around My Bed.