Friday, February 19, 2010

The Impact On Country Music By Rufus Payne

In light of the fact that February is African Americans In History Month, I put together a little piece on the black man that taught the legendary Hank Williams to play the guitar over at The 9513. It's interesting to think that country music might not be the same had it not been for Rufus Payne. You can read a snippet down below but see the entire article HERE.

Payne’s nickname was “Tee-Tot” and everyone who knew him called him this in lieu of his namesake. The tag is a pun on “teetotaler.” A homemade mixture of alcohol and tea that the musician carried with him nearly everywhere he went helped cement the nickname. Tee-Tot exposed Williams to blues and other African American influences that eventually helped Williams successfully combine hillbilly, folk and blues into his own unique style–a style that would eventually change the landscape of country music forever. Remarkably, the Williams music legacy deserves much of the credit from a man who was never known past his local community in southern Alabama during his lifetime. It was only after his death, and the subsequent death of Williams, that this unique story has really been told in any real meaningful way.

1 comment:

  1. The influence of Mr. Payne on Country Music is remarkable. Consider that he first heard music before there was radio or phonographs in the rural South East. He was raised on pure Folk Music; he learned to play and sing from watching, listening, and being coached one-on-one, in the aural-oral tradition. In addition to shaping the young Hank Williams, he must have influenced others, Black and white. It's humbling that we acknowledge what Mr. Payne and other African American musicians have brought from Africa and given to our culture. -Doug Pratt, Atlanta, Georgia, USA