Barrelhouse Buck: Backcountry Barrelhouse

Barrelhouse Buck: Backcountry Barrelhouse

Thomas McFarland FW03554 / FG 3554

Thomas “Barrelhouse Buck” McFarland (1903–1962) was raised in St. Louis, where many of his contemporaries played a gutsy style of boogie-woogie piano known as “barrelhouse.” McFarland’s playing had a rougher and more insistent rhythm, perhaps inspired by his early days as a drummer. Producer Sam Charters described Buck’s playing as having a rural quality to it, giving it the “backcountry” name. Although this session was recorded only eight months prior to his death in 1962, it is clear that McFarland remained faithful to the classic barrelhouse style he had developed in the 1920s and 1930s. As in other Charters productions, the artist also entertains the listener with reminiscences of his early recording career.

The liner notes describe McFarland’s musical influences and the evolution of his “backcountry” style.

Year Released 1961
Record Label Folkways Records
Source Archive Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Copyright 2004 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings / 1961 Folkways Records
Genre(s) Blues
Country(s) United States
Culture Group(s) African American
Instrument(s) Piano; Vocals
Subject(s) Blues; Piano music (Barrelhouse)

Download Liner Notes

101 Lieutenant Blues Thomas McFarland (Barrelhouse Buck) 2:41
102 Alton Blues Thomas McFarland (Barrelhouse Buck) 1:38
103 Four O'Clock Blues Thomas McFarland (Barrelhouse Buck) 1:58
104 20th Street Blues (Twentieth Street Blues) Thomas McFarland (Barrelhouse Buck) 2:17
105 Mercy Blues Thomas McFarland (Barrelhouse Buck) 1:37
106 So Long Buck Thomas McFarland (Barrelhouse Buck) 2:30
107 I'm Going to Write You a Letter Thomas McFarland (Barrelhouse Buck) 3:41
201 Mary, Ain't I Been One Good Man to You Thomas McFarland (Barrelhouse Buck) 2:52
202 Reminiscences: Balling the Jack and First Recordings Thomas McFarland (Barrelhouse Buck) 3:23
203 Make Me a Soldier of the Cross Thomas McFarland (Barrelhouse Buck) 2:59
204 Nina Blues Thomas McFarland (Barrelhouse Buck) 3:53
205 Taylor Avenue Blues Thomas McFarland (Barrelhouse Buck) 2:43
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