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You know I was never interested in making records and I always preferred to live a quiet life; just unknown in my basement - Kokomo Arnold, in Paul Oliver's Blues Off the Record

Author Topic: Unnatural Causes - murdered blues musicians  (Read 7390 times)

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Offline StoogeKebab

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Re: Unnatural Causes - murdered blues musicians
« Reply #30 on: March 17, 2016, 12:39:36 AM »
I have the police report from October 8 1955 right here in front of me at present, and it reads as follows:

"Willie Junior Patterson was stabbed by Eddie James House" I can't read it all well enough to transcribe it. It would appear House turned himself in at 6:02 the morning (the stabbing occurred in the early hours of that morning), going to someone's house and insisting they "call the police because he had killed a man." He was charged at 6:30 with 1st degree manslaughter.
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Offline DonRocin

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Re: Unnatural Causes - murdered blues musicians
« Reply #31 on: March 18, 2016, 08:57:35 AM »
Geeshie Wiley: "I?m gonna cut your throat baby/gonna look down in your face"?and, according to Sullivan?s recent article, she did just that.

Offline Randy Meadows

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Re: Unnatural Causes - murdered blues musicians
« Reply #32 on: March 21, 2016, 09:24:06 PM »
Hayes McMullen and Willie Moore talk about a few murdered musicians from the early 1900s in their interviews with Wardlow recorded in 1968.

http://deltabluesfolkgospelandmore.tumblr.com/post/68907158843/gayle-dean-wardlow-research-interviews
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Offline Johnm

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Re: Unnatural Causes - murdered blues musicians
« Reply #33 on: September 21, 2018, 09:26:12 AM »
Hi all,
I just discovered on wikipedia while searching for biographical information on Virgil Childers that he was shot and killed by a policeman in 1939 while trying to escape from police custody.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Mike Billo

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Re: Unnatural Causes - murdered blues musicians
« Reply #34 on: September 22, 2018, 08:56:21 AM »
Jazz Gillum

Offline jharris

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Re: Unnatural Causes - murdered blues musicians
« Reply #35 on: September 24, 2018, 10:25:04 AM »
Two more:

-Pianist Buster Pickens - from the notes to his Document release: "In his last years Pickens played with Hop Wilson at local gigs and was Lightnin? Hopkins' regular piano player. The promise of a new career in the blues revival ended tragically when he was shot and killed at age forty-eight by a cousin at the N.R. Lounge, a beer joint in Houston, on November 24, 1964. The report of his murder reached Hopkins, touring Europe at the time, who was deeply distressed by the news."

-Lee Jackson was murdered during in a family quarrel on July 1, 1979. My friend Axel K?stner recorded him in an acoustic setting May 13, 1978.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Unnatural Causes - murdered blues musicians
« Reply #36 on: September 24, 2018, 10:35:48 AM »
Jazz Gillum and Buster Pickens were both posted earlier in the thread.

Offline Nyama74

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Re: Unnatural Causes - murdered blues musicians
« Reply #37 on: September 30, 2018, 06:37:02 PM »
T-Model Ford talks about killing someone in a knife fight in the "You See Me Laughin': The Last of the Hill Country Bluesmen" documentary.

Sounds like it was legitimately self-defense in his case, though.

Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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Re: Unnatural Causes - murdered blues musicians
« Reply #38 on: October 06, 2018, 02:21:25 AM »
Henry Simms ran over a little girl in a pickup truck outside of Farrell, MS.
Charley Patton's guitar playing brother, Son Patton, was shot in Mound Bayou in 1919.
Clarence Johnson, the younger brother of Tommy Johnson, was killed at a juke near Crystal Springs, MS.

Many blues artists, after living less than pious lives, met with a fitting end.  Having supposedly made a deal with the devil at the crossroads, Robert Johnson seemed to have hellhounds on his trail in mid-August 1938 at age twenty-seven, when his condition steadily worsened over the course of three days until he died in a convulsive state of severe pain near Greenwood, Mississippi.  Willie Bunch, better known as Peetie Wheatsraw, the Devil?s Son-in-Law, the High Sheriff of Hell, was a passenger in the back seat of a friend?s Buick on his 39th birthday, December 21, 1941, when some friends decided to take a drive and struck a standing freight train, instantly killing both men in the front seat and dealing out a fatal head injury to Bunch who died in a St. Louis hospital some hours later.  Both John Lee ?Sonny Boy? Williamson and Memphis Piano Red were beaten to within an inch of their lives and later died from their injuries.  Having supposedly lived an easy life of secular pleasure outside of the church, the brutal violence of their last moments contrasted sharply with lives not devoted to hard work and thrift.  In the minds of God-fearing church folks, their violent deaths only served as a gateway for an eternity that awaited them in the fires of hell.  Most folks never had to sell their souls, only pick up a bottle or an instrument, perhaps even an accordion?

The blues artist who fell victim to the most violent death was rumored to have been an accordion player named Walter ?Pat? Rhodes, who, in fact, was the first blues artist from the Delta to record for a major label.  In 1927,  he recorded four tunes with Richard ?Can? and Mylar ?Pet? Harney, including one later covered by Charley Patton called ?The Crowing Rooster,? for Columbia Records in Memphis, Tennessee.  Less than a year later, Mylar Harney had been killed outside a juke joint in Arkansas and several informants of Memphis Blues author Bengt Ollsson reported that Rhodes died later in the 1940s ?after being struck by lightning.?  The informants of Stephen Calt and Gayle Dean Wardlow, moreover, recalled that the lightning had struck and killed him in Alligator, Mississippi.  Indeed, the accounts of several people seemed to suggest that the life of the Delta musician who had first put the blues on record had been abruptly taken from him in a flash of light come down from the heavens seemingly out of the hand of God himself.

But did it really happen?  Did the first ever blues musician from the Delta to make a recording meet such a vicious end?  And who in the world was Rhodes? 
« Last Edit: October 06, 2018, 05:25:10 AM by mtzionmemorialfund »
T. DeWayne Moore
Executive Director, Mt. Zion Memorial Fund

Offline harry

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Re: Unnatural Causes - murdered blues musicians
« Reply #39 on: March 31, 2020, 03:31:30 PM »
Tail Dragger murdered Boston Blackie in 1993.



 


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