Chris Bouchillon

An outline drawing of an older man holding a guitar.

Album cover of "The Original Talking Blues Man." Image from Wirz' American Music.

(1893-1968) Born in Oconee County, South Carolina, Christopher Allen Bouchillon was a country and blues musician who is often credited with originating the talking blues musical style. Coming from a musical family, Chris formed the Bouchillon Trio with his brothers, Charley and Uris. Chris played the mandolin and provided vocals, Charley played fiddle, and Uris played guitar. As a band, they recorded six sides; two of the sides were recorded under the name The Greenville Trio. Bouchillon developed his signature talking way of singing because he supposedly had a horrible singing voice. His recording director at the time recommended that he re-record a few songs by talking instead of singing, resulting in his hit song, "Talking Blues." He continued to perform his signature style of music until he retired from professional music during The Great Depression and opened up a dry cleaning shop in Greenville. He eventually retired from his dry cleaning business and moved to Florida, where he died at a nursing home. He was 75 years old when he passed.

Bouchillon's musical legacy has influenced many musicians, including Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan.