Blues Music Now! obituary

Junior Kimbrough

Junior Kimbrough

By Steve Sharp

Hypnotic, one-of-a-kind blues genius Junior Kimbrough died Saturday, Jan. 17, 1998, at his home from heart failure. He was 67 years old.

Kimbrough, born on July 28, 1930, was known for delivering his original compositions in mesmerizing fashion - sometimes accompanying himself alone on guitar, but more often with his band The Soul Blues Boys. In his younger days, Kimbrough counted among his friends rock-a-billy artist Charley Feathers, also from the Chulahoma area, with whom he traded musical ideas.

Until recently, Kimbrough was barely known outside of the Chulahoma/Holly Springs area of the northeast Mississippi Hill Country. However, since making his full-length CD debut, entitled "All Night Long," on the Oxford, Mississippi-based Fat Possum Records label, Kimbrough became known and loved around the world.

When he wasn't touring with his close friend R.L. Burnside or even, at one point in the mid-1990s - Iggy Pop - Kimbrough could often be found serving beers and jamming at his juke joint in Chulahoma. There, Kimbrough would make sure that his neighbors and visitors from around the world got along while partying to his music and that of the Burnside family.

Fat Possum also released Kimbrough's albums "Sad Days, Lonely Nights" and "Most Things Haven't Worked Out" to follow up his debut disc. Kimbrough's funky/primitive compositions dominated the discs. In late 1997, the Kimbrough's Highwater album "Do the Rump" was re-issued on the Hightone label. Kimbrough also made an appearance in the movie "Deep Blues."

Junior's survivors include his common-law wife, Mildred Washington and 36 children. A funeral service for Kimbrough was conducted in the Doxey Building at Rust College in Holly Springs on Jan. 24.

Donations to help Kimbrough's family with burial expenses, or condolences may be sent to Mildred Washington, c/o Fat Possum Records, P.O. Box 1923, Oxford, Miss., 38655.

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