Carl Martin

Carl Martin (April 1 or 15, 1906 – May 10, 1979) was an American Piedmont blues musician and vocalist who was proficient at playing several instruments and performed in various musical styles.

Martin was born in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. He made his earliest recordings as a member of several groups, including the Four Keys, the Tennessee Chocolate Drops, and the Wandering Troubadours. He also performed in the trio Martin, Bogan, and Armstrong (with Ted Bogan and Howard Armstrong).

He accompanied Chicago musicians, such as Bumble Bee Slim and Tampa Red, throughout the 1930s. His solo work recorded in the 1930s is also notable; songs such as "Crow Jane" and "Old Time Blues" feature his remarkable guitar accompaniment. From the 1930s onwards, Martin regularly played solo in the Chicago area, with a repertoire encompassing blues, jazz, pop, country, and even non-English songs. He played second guitar behind Freddie Spruell on the 1935 recording of the latter's song "Let's Go Riding". The track was featured in the soundtrack of the 2001 film Ghost World.

Martin reunited with Bogan and Armstrong in the 1970s and played at folk and blues music festivals across the United States.

Martin died in Pontiac, Michigan, in May 1979, at the age of 73.

The folk artist Steve Goodman paid tribute to Martin in his song "You Better Get It While You Can".

Birth and Death Data: Born April 1st, 1906 (Virginia), Died May 10th, 1979

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1934 - 1936

Roles Represented in DAHR: guitar, vocalist, composer, piano

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-80933 10-in. 10/27/1934 You can go your way Carl Martin Male vocal solo, with guitar instrumentalist, guitar, composer, vocalist  
Victor BS-80934 10-in. 10/27/1934 Kid man blues Carl Martin Male vocal solo, with guitar instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist, composer  
Victor BS-91427 10-in. 7/27/1935 Crow Jane Carl Martin Male vocal solo, with guitar instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist, composer  
Victor BS-91428 10-in. 7/27/1935 Old time blues Carl Martin Male vocal solo, with guitar instrumentalist, guitar, composer, vocalist  
Decca 90293 10-in. 9/4/1935 Joe Louis blues Carl Martin vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  
Decca 90294 10-in. 9/4/1935 Let's have a new deal Carl Martin vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  
Decca 90635 10-in. 3/24/1936 I'm gonna have my fun (when I get my bonus) Carl Martin ; Charlie (Chuck) Segar instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 90679 10-in. 4/17/1936 Big four whistle blues-1 Jimmie Gordon instrumentalist, guitar  
Decca 90680 10-in. 4/17/1936 Drunken woman blues Jimmie Gordon instrumentalist, guitar  
Decca 90681 10-in. 4/18/1936 High water flood blues Carl Martin vocalist  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Martin, Carl," accessed March 7, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106960.

Martin, Carl. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved March 7, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106960.

"Martin, Carl." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 7 March 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106960

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