Sylvester Weaver – first person to record blues guitar

Sylvester Weaver was the first blues guitarist to record both solo and as an accompanist with a singer. That historic recording was made on October 24, 1923, in the O’Keh studios in the New York. Weaver and Sarah Martin, Louisville’s classic blues singer, recorded “Longing For Daddy Blues” and “I’ve Got To Go And Leave My Daddy Behind.”

Sylvester Weaver Sarah Martin

Sylvester was back in the studio again on November 2 to record two instrumentals, “Guitar Blues” and “Guitar Rag.” “Guitar Rag” was influential in the country market; Texas twin fiddler Bob Wills recorded an arrangement by pedal steel master Leon MacAuliffe as “Steel Guitar Rag.”

Sylvester went on to record over 50 cuts for O’Keh, often as an accompanist for Martin or as a soloist. He also made some recordings with guitarist Walter Beasley and singer Helen Humes.

His innovative guitar style mixed the styles of Georgia/Piedmont, ragtime and slide. He occasionally played banjo. Weaver died of cancer in Louisville in 1960 at age 63. When his unmarked gravesite was located at the Louisville Cemetery, monies were raised by the Kentuckiana Blues Society for a headstone.



UPDATE: a new picture of Sara Martin, never before seen! .. found by Patti Joyner in her mother’s home.


SARA MARTIN from Patti Joyner