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Scrap Iron Blues

Robert Pete Williams


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Angola and back


In 1971 film footage Robert Pete Williams is captured improvising a new talking blues composition at his home in Baton Rouge.

The Louisiana blues man describes the circumstances surrounding his prison sentence for murder in Angola Penitentiary.

Following a night club incident in 1956 which led to him shooting another man in an altercation in self defense, Williams got life in prison under the hard Southern penal system.

Luckily the sentence was commuted to twelve years thanks to the efforts of ethnomusicologists Dr. Harry Oster and Richard Allen who has recorded him performing songs about prison life.

Robert Pete Williams was paroled in 1958 and allowed to return to his wife and children, beginning a career as a blues recording artist.

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