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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Louise - Wesley Jefferson

Bassist, vocalist, and bandleader Wesley Jefferson has been a stalwart of the Clarksdale blues scene since the mid-1960s. He was born in Roundaway in Coahoma County on March 23, 1944, the oldest boy of thirteen children. As a youth he picked and chopped cotton, plowed with mules and later with a tractor, and lived in extreme poverty.

He recalls being influenced by his grandfather, Claude Jefferson, who played guitar at his home in Clarksdale. He also furtively listened to records by “deep blues” artists at a juke joint run by his mother “way out in the field,” where they sold catfish and moonshine made by his stepfather. Local musicians who he saw playing at small venues in the country included the one-man-band “Popeye,” guitarist Ernest Roy—“the best guitarist I ever seen,” and the band led by Tutwiler’s Lee Kizart, who hauled his piano from gig to gig.

Jefferson first played blues on a diddley bow on the wall of his house, and was first able to buy a guitar after he moved to Memphis to work around age 18. He soon moved on to drums, and began playing in Memphis juke joints and house parties. After several years he returned to the Clarksdale region, where he found work as a mechanic on Hopson Plantation, a job he held for 22 years. He soon formed his first band, playing drums behind guitarist/vocalist David Porter and bassist “A.C.” at Smitty’s Red Top Lounge in Clarksdale. The band lasted for about three or four years, and Jefferson then formed a new band—now having switched to the bass—with guitarist J.C. Holmes, drummer C.V. Veal, and Veal’s wife Marian on vocals, a grouping that lasted seven or eight years.
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Jefferson died on July 22, 2009 from complications due to lung cancer.

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