I was lucky enough a couple of years ago on my road trip to the Ole Miss game to spend the night in Clarksdale, Mississippi, home of the blues. One of the highlights of my night there was dropping into a joint called Red’s and watching T-Model Ford. I learned shortly afterwards that he suffered a stroke and, sadly, no longer performed. Given his age (and that’s a matter of whom you asked), I expected that he wasn’t long for this world.
T-Model Ford passed away today. His obituary is a must read.
When Ford was young, he served two years of a 10-year prison sentence for killing a man in self-defense, and he had scars on his ankles from serving on a prison chain gang, Stolle said.
Ford had six wives and 26 children, Stolle said. When Ford’s fifth wife left him, she gave him a guitar as a parting gift.
“He stayed up all night drinking white whiskey,” or moonshine, “and playing the guitar,” Stolle said. “He kind of went on from there.”
This is a good introduction to what Ford was doing late in life:
And this is my favorite tune… NSFW. But it’s catchy.
Stella was with him that night in Clarksdale. She’s a helluva woman, too.
Rest in peace, big man.
8 responses to “Another musical palate cleanser, another R.I.P.”
Used to go for Blues in Chicago, the other end of the Miss Blues from Memphis. In late 70s they still had dirt floors in two of the better hangouts then. No adornments, served beer only and standing room only. I really miss that town. It had and still has everything worth listening toin Blues.
Can still find a few places around Tallahassee. When I returned to the So Ga area in late 90s, went to one with an old friend from Cairo. Good music, good beer and food. Lost my friend that night when I told him that I had supported Clinton. Think he’s on a town council in that area (near Cairo) and pretty sure he’s not implementing Obama Health Plan anytime soon. The healing quality of Blues didn’t cut any ice that night.
Ever go to Blues Harbor, Senator?
It was in Buckhead, I believe, before it was “BUCKHEAD.”
Senator, you just keep amazing me! Our friend turned me on to sweet Chicago Blues 21 years ago. I felt it all the way down in my soul. Felt like a Joe Lewis punch! Should have had hot dogs for my lunch.
yes.Stella nay have been a helluva woman, but because Stella was with him he could not sing,”I’m gonna put my foot in your ass” kinda like peanuts with no crackerjacks.
Thanks for posting this. I lived in Memphis for several years when the Fat Possum stable (T-Model Ford, Junior Kimbrough, R.L. Burnside, Asie Payton, etc.) were all riding high. With most of those guys already in the ground — most notably Kimbrough and Burnside — it’s sad to hear of Ford’s passing.
I love Chicago blues, but the North Mississippi Hill Country style that those guys played had, for my money, more of an edge to it.
T Model always makes me cry
You know it is soulful when it makes you cry. Love that stuff