Below, check out some rare footage of a criminally unknown bluesman named U.P. Wilson.
In this grainy clip, which supposedly was shot in the early Eighties, Wilson is showing off his trademark one-hand guitar solo in a smoky bar called the Bluebird—while smoking. And it's pretty damn cool.
Although Wilson played Texas blues, he was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1934 before moving to Dallas as a young man. He learned the blues from ZuZu Bollin, Cat Man Fleming, Frankie Lee Sims, Mercy Baby and Nappy "Chin" Evans before eventually relocating to Fort Worth.
According to music journalist Tony Russell, Wilson truly knew how to put on a show, playing one-handed guitar (usually a Strat) while drinking, smoking and greeting his fans; but behind all the tricks and the hyped-up language he used in his press and bookings ("Texas Tornado," "Atomic Guitar," etc.), Wilson was a seriously talented guitarist and singer with depths of musical knowledge.
For most of the last decade of his life, Wilson toured the European blues circuit and in the U.S., performing at the Chicago Blues Festival and appearing with Albert Collins. He was imprisoned for six months for cocaine possession between 1997 and 1998 and moved to Paris, (France—not Texas), after he was released. He died in Paris in 2004 at age 70.