Tag Archives: Lynn Abbott

Stringbeans May and the Birth of the Blues in Black Vaudeville

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Just before his neck was broken in Jacksonville, Butler “Stringbeans” May was the hottest Black entertainer in the country. He’d just turned 23. Critics called him “eccentric” and “smutty.” It was Stringbeans who made the Blues first rise in Black Vaudeville, but he never recorded and never copyrighted his hits. Details of his death remain a mystery.