Eugene "Buddy" Moss was one of 12 children born to a family of sharecroppers living in Jewel, Georgia, midway between Atlanta and Augusta. His exact date of birth has never been verified but it was sometime between 1906 and 1914. He taught himself to play the harmonica at an early age, and when his family moved to Augusta, he was playing at local parties and picnics before he reached his teens. By 1928, he was busking around the streets of Atlanta and he was good enough to be noticed by Curley Weaver and Robert "Barbecue Bob" Hicks, who began working with him. It was Weaver and Hicks that got Moss his first recording date, at the age of 16, as a member of their group the Georgia Cotton Pickers, Moss doing four songs for Columbia. Nothing more was heard from Buddy Moss on record until three years later.
In 1933, however, he made his debut as a recording artist in his own right for ARC in New York, cutting three songs for them. In the three years leading up to that date, he'd taught himself the guitar, at which he became so proficient that he was a genuine peer and rival to Weaver. He frequently played with Barbecue Bob Hicks, and after Hicks died in 1931, he found a new partner and associate in Blind Willie McTell, performing with the Atlanta blues legend at local parties in the Atlanta area. Moss's records were released simultaneously on various labels owned by ARC, and were so successful that he returned to New York, along with Weaver and Blind Willie McTell to record twelve more songs for the company, this time accompanied by Curley Weaver, while he accompanied Weaver and McTell on their numbers. Following further recordings on his own, when Moss returned to the studio in the summer of 1935, it was with a new partner, Josh White.
At the height of his popularity disaster struck Moss when he was convicted of the murder of his wife and sentenced to a long prison term. Moss consistently protested his innocence but he served six years in prison before a combination of good behaviour and pleas made on his behalf gained his led to his release in 1941. It was while working under parole arrangements that Moss met a group of blues musicians that included Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. Moss recorded with Terry and McGhee for Okeh and three songs were released before America's entry into the second world war cut short this recording comeback. Hard times then followed for Moss and although he continued performing he was force to take a series of manual jobs to make ends meet. Buddy Moss was largely forgotten and it was not until 1964 when he visited Josh White, now an established star, backstage in Atlanta that he was "re-discovered". He resumed performing at colleges and blues and folk festivals but was unable to resurrect his recording career. Buddy Moss died in Atlanta in 1984, once again largely forgotten by the public. However the re-issue of his early recordings have helped to establish a reputation he deserves as a major influence on better known blues performers such as Blind Willie McTell and Blind Boy Fuller.
Evil Hearted Woman