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Carl Martin (April 1 or 15, 1906[2] – May 10, 1979)[1] was an American Piedmont blues musician and vocalist[3] who was proficient at playing several instruments and performed in various musical styles.[4]

Carl Martin
Born(1906-04-01)April 1, 1906[1]
OriginBig Stone Gap, Virginia, United States
DiedMay 10, 1979(1979-05-10) (aged 73)[1]
Pontiac, Michigan, United States
GenresCountry blues
Piedmont blues
East Coast blues
Occupation(s)Musician, singer
InstrumentsGuitar, mandolin, violin, bass violin, vocals
Years active1934–1960s

Martin was born in Big Stone Gap, Virginia.[4] 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).[5]

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.[6]

Martin reunited with Bogan and Armstrong in the 1970s and played at folk and blues music festivals across the United States.[4]

Martin died in Pontiac, Michigan, in May 1979, at the age of 73.[1][4]

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

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Doc Rock. "The 1970s". The Dead Rock Stars Club. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  2. ^ 78 Quarterly, issue 2, p. 41.
  3. ^ Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music. Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 181. ISBN 1-904041-96-5.
  4. ^ a b c d Campbell, Al. "Carl Martin | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  5. ^ "Carl Martin | Listen and Stream Free Music, Albums, New Releases, Photos, Videos". Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  6. ^ Leggett, Steve. "Freddie Spruell". AllMusic. Retrieved December 6, 2011.