'T-Model' Ford Dies: Singer, Guitarist Was Master of 'Old-School Blues'

Image: 'T-Model' Ford Dies: Singer, Guitarist Was Master of 'Old-School Blues'

Wednesday, 17 Jul 2013 06:52 AM

By Newsmax Wires

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
James Lewis Carter "T-Model" Ford, a singer and guitarist who was considered a "master of old-school blues," died Tuesday at his home in Greenville, Miss.

Ford had been under hospice care and died of respiratory failure shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday, Washington County Coroner Methel Johnson told The Associated Press. She said he was at home with several relatives, including his wife, Estella Ford.

His age was uncertain. Johnson said the family told her Ford was born in 1924 and had already had his birthday this year, which would have made him 89. But a blues expert and longtime friend, Roger Stolle, said Ford didn't remember what year he was born and claimed to be 93.

Editor's Note: Don't Miss These Free Government Giveaways

Stolle, who owns a Clarksdale, Miss., store called Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art, accompanied Ford and other blues men when they toured Europe in 2009. He also traveled with Ford to gigs in New York.

"He was known as one of the last really authentic Mississippi blues men," Stolle told AP on Tuesday. "He has a story and could back it up."

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 and he taught himself to play.

"He stayed up all night drinking white whiskey," or moonshine, "and playing the guitar," Stolle said. "He kind of went on from there."

Ford started his blues career by playing at private parties and at juke joints in Greenville.

"He'd play late, then he'd spray himself with a bunch of mosquito spray and sleep in his van," Stolle said.

Ford would show up for gigs early and often play longer than expected, even when he started experiencing heart problems in recent years, Stolle said. Ford would also swig Jack Daniels on stage and chat with the audience. Often, he'd pick out a happy-looking couple that included an attractive woman and would talk directly to the man.

"He'd say, 'You'd better put your stamp on her because if she flags my train, I'm going to let her ride," Stolle said. "He'd do it with a gleam in his eye and a smile. He could get away with a lot."

Editor's Note: Do You Support Obamacare? Vote in Urgent National Poll

Stolle said Ford recorded seven albums with three labels, including three albums with Fat Possum Records in Oxford, Miss.

Clarksdale Mayor Bill Luckett, who co-owns the city's Ground Zero Blues Club with actor Morgan Freeman, said Ford was "a master of old-school blues" with an international following.

"His music would take you right back to the heart and soul of the Delta, back in the day," Luckett said.

Related stories:


Legendary Blues Singer Bobby 'Blue' Bland Dies at 83

Country Music Legend Claude King of 'Louisiana Hayride' Dies

Disco Queen Donna Summer Has Died at 63  

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Send me more news as it happens.
 
 
Get me on The Wire
Send me more news as it happens.
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
You May Also Like

Passengers Push Plane on Icy Russian Runway (With Help of a Tractor)

Wednesday, 26 Nov 2014 20:45 PM

Passengers on a Russian plane got off to push the aircraft to help get it on the runway after it began slipping on ice i . . .

Bernie Tiede, Convicted Murderer Mortician, to Get New Sentencing

Wednesday, 26 Nov 2014 17:39 PM

Bernie Tiede, the mortician who was convicted of killing his companion Marjorie Nugent in 1996, will receive a new sente . . .

Chrysler Pentastar Logo Getting Phased Out With FCA Formation

Wednesday, 26 Nov 2014 15:51 PM

Chrysler's iconic Pentastar logo is being phased out as the company introduces a new logo in keeping with the newly form . . .

Top Stories

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved