Rabbit Muse

Rabbit Muse ukulele

Rabbit Muse – Sixty Minute Man (mp3)

Rabbit Muse – Rocking Chair Blues (mp3) via Digital Library of Appalachia

The blues isn’t a genre you immediately associate with the ukulele but the popularity of the blues and the ukulele coincided in the 1930’s and a few, most notably Papa Charlie Jackson and Geeshie Wiley, picked up the instrument. Probably the foremost blues ukulele player was Lewis “Rabbit” Muse.

However, Muse’s music goes far beyond the blues incorporating folk, jazz and pure entertainment (including playing kazoo and tap-dancing) which came from his early inspiration of minstrelsy.

Muse, born 1908, learnt soprano ukulele from a childhood friend before transferring to baritone and setting out on a career that spanned seven decades. Despite this long career he recorded only two albums: Muse Blues in 1976 and Sixty Minute Man in ’77. Both these albums are, sadly, out of print and have never been released on CD. A couple of his earlier recordings appear on the compilation Western Piedmont Blues which also appears to be unavailable

Until the record industry comes to its senses we will have to content ourselves by downloading a few poorly recorded performances on the Digital Library of Appalachia. Unless anyone knows how to get hold of his recordings.

Read more on Rabbit here.

UPDATE: Ten years later and it’s a little easier to find Rabbit Muse tracks online. Stefan Wirz has uploaded a selection of them to YouTube (thanks to Howard for the heads-up).

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