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Precious Bryant - Mark Austin

Finger-style guitarist Precious Bryant lives in Waverly Hall, Georgia. She was recorded in 1967 by George Mitchell (two songs were released on Rounder LP 2008) and as part of the National Downhome Blues Festival series (Volume One, Southland SLP-21). More recently, she has performed at the Port Townsend [Wash.] Country Blues Festival and the Blues to Bop Festival in Lugano, Switzerland.

I used to take my guitar to school and play it. And I used to play at parties and that sort of thing. I didn't finish school. I quit in 11th grade. And I got married, went on down to Juniper, stayed down there about 11 years. And so come along [blues researcher and writer] George Mitchell, then I got started. I got started to goin' places with him and then [folklorist] Fred Fussell came along, so that's how I got started going out... I was born January the 4th, 1942. I was about nine years old when I started playin' guitar. I learnt myself. I was small, and my uncle, he had a large guitar and I used to drag it around. I couldn't tote it. I used to drag it around, and kept messin' around with it till I learnt how to play. Later on my uncle Sonny, his name Henry but we all call him Sonny, he bought me a little ol' ukelele for Christmas. And I fooled around with it too and from then on I learnt how to play... I used to [play 5-string banjo]. Been a long time since I played banjo... I play Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, and all them. And Elmore James, and some of the old blues like that. The way I learnt how to play a song, I would listen to the song on the radio and write the words down, and I wouldn't worry about the music, 'cause I could get the music. All I wanted to know was the words... [The buckdance tune] come from my daddy. I heard him play that. I learnt how to play that behind him. And I added a little more to it myself... I used to make money playin' my guitar. I'd go off, especially when I was married, me and my husband would go around and people'd listen to me play the guitar, I'd make money. I'd play about five or six songs, they'd put money in my guitar. I'd take a rest break, sit down and rest a little bit, and start back again, and when I'd get home I'd have a guitar full of money. I enjoyed that. Sho' did. People want to have a talent show or somethin' like that, they'd get me to play, especially at schools, when I was goin' to school. That's the only music they had then.

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