Thursday, December 21, 2006

Homesick James Passes

It is truly sad the number of blues greats we have lost this year. We now must add Homesick James to that long list.

Homesick James died December 13, 2006. He was in his mid 90's and said to have been resting comfortably at home in Springfield, Missouri. I will reprint the biographical information from the Blueswax article as it is about the best available.

"Born in Somerville, Tennessee, he began playing guitar at around age ten and soon ran away from home, eventually becoming the last of the Delta players who made their way from Mississippi via Memphis to Chicago, and transformed the sound of post-war Blues. His slide guitar was the sound of Maxwell Street in its heyday. He gave various birthdates, but April 30, 1910, is generally accepted; some sources give his real name as James A. Williamson, others as James (or John) William Henderson. He was said to be a cousin of Sonny Boy Williamson, and claimed to be a cousin of Elmore James, to whom he was very close and who was certainly a major influence. He was also acquainted with Robert Johnson.

He played with virtually everybody, often as a sideman. He made his own first recordings for RCA Victor in 1937 and acquired his nickname from his classic "Homesick," recorded for Chance Records in 1952-53, said to be among his finest sessions. He recorded for many labels, including an album for Prestige in 1964, four tracks for an anthology on Vanguard in 1965, and as recently as 2004 on Fedora.

The funeral will take place on December 23 in Covington, Tennessee; and then an era will be well and truly over."

Rest in peace Homesick.

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