Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This week, Texas music scholar Gary Hartman pays tribute to the son of a former slave who helped inspire a Texas guitar legend.
You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Friday on KXT and Saturday on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KERA radio’s 90.1 at Night.
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Mance Lipscomb was born on April 9, 1895, near Navasota, Texas. Lipscomb’s father, a former slave, was a fiddler who taught his son to play and sometimes took him to perform at dances throughout East Texas. Mance Lipscomb’s broad repertoire spanned both African and European musical styles, including blues, ballads, reels, waltzes and polkas. By the 1960s, Lipscomb began to receive national attention after San Francisco-based Arhoolie Records recorded him. Soon, Lipscomb was performing at festivals throughout the country alongside Doc Watson, Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Howlin’ Wolf. Lipscomb relocated to Austin at the age of 65, where he influenced a whole new generation of Texas guitarists, including the legendary Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll remember a singer who rode the rails to international stardom.