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This Week in Texas Music History: Mance Lipscomb

by Stephen Becker 9 Apr 2010 2:50 PM

This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll pay tribute to the son of a former slave who helped inspire a Texas guitar legend.



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.

  • Laurel Ornish

    In the early 1970’s, I used to go hear Mance Lipscomb play at the Rubaiyat Club, where I also used to perform back in my singer-songwriter days.

    He was a very sweet man, and an incredible blues guitarist, the real deal.

    His buddy, Lightnin’ Hopkins, also used to play there.

    Mance once told me that his motto was, “Pride and Principle.”

  • Bert Miller

    Celebrate Mance’s music at the Navasota Blues Fest, August 13-14 at the Grimes County Expo Center in Navasota Texas. Great line up of blues bands! More info visit http://www.NavasotaBluesFest.org or call 936 825 6600