Blues Brief - March 21st
“Oh, fold my arms I’m going to kneel down in prayer
When I get up I’m going to see if my preaching suit a man’s ear”
Some men have the blues until they find religion. Young Eddie had religion from his birth in the Mississippi Delta. He grew up in church and was preaching by the time he was a teenager. He became a bona fide preacher for Baptist and Christian (Colored) Methodist Episcopal Churches. In his 20’s, He walked away from a marriage and worked farm and manufacturing jobs around the south. Then he had an awakening. His lifestyle had led him away from preaching but he found the blues. He played around The Delta with the likes of Charley Patton and Willie Brown and recorded for Paramount Records. He influenced two Mississippi youngsters– Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters. Then, after being recorded by Alan Lomax for The Library of Congress in 1942, and with no commercial success outside the local area, he disappeared from music. Like John Hurt and Bukka White, he was rediscovered by folk and rock music. He had worked as a farmhand, preacher, tractor operator, and in Rochester New York he was a cook and a railroad porter. Not having picked up a guitar in over 20 years, he had to be taught how to play his songs again. He toured the US and Europe as a revival of folk and delta blues swept the country. Unfortunately Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s caught up with him and by his 70’s he could no longer play or remember his songs. He moved again to Detroit, where he died in 1988 of cancer.
Born on this day in 1902, The Preacher, “The Father of Folk Blues”, Eddie James 'Son’ House.