Monday, July 30, 2007

Farewell, Old Friend: Jimmy T99 Nelson Is Dead

Jimmy T99 Nelson died yesterday evening in Houston. He had been suffering from lung cancer. Roger Wood, a lover of the music and a dear friend to T99, gave me the sad news. Roger's book, Down in Houston, is the definitive word on the Houston blues scene.

Jimmy was the last of the great blues shouters, a house wrecker from the days gone by. There will be no more like him. Here's the proof.

He was also a friend like no other. When I called him from the West Coast in 1999, to tell him I had made the journey from Texas safely, despite being robbed along the way, the first thing he said was, "Do you need any money?"

I can see him now, sitting at the dining room table in his home on Calumet Street, good music on the stereo, a yellow legal pad in front of him, still writing great songs in his 80s.

Now he passes into memory, myth and legend.

To have called Jimmy Nelson my friend -- what can a life in music give, that's any better than that?


By way of commemoration, I have posted an unreleased track from a mid-90s session I did with Jimmy. You can listen to it here.

It will only be online for a few days.


Terry L. said...

I'll never forget when Jimmy and you played at the Waterfront Blues Festival in 2002. May he rest in peace.

Terry L. Odor
Vice President
Cascade Blues Association
Portland, Oregon

carlq said...

Hey David-
Thanks for posting the song. I've been listening to all his stuff the last few days. I can't believe he never got the recognition he deserved. His lyrics are so classy and crazy. You never knew what he'd sing next. He could craft a sentence like no one else. We lost one of the greatest song writers the blues ever had. Do you have any infofrmation about a service or anything?
Thanks again.
-Carl Querfurth

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this, David -- death don't have no mercy, in your life, or mine, or anyone's. I knew of your writing from Counterpunch, later learned of your music from my friends Dan and Judy of Summer Lake, and then learned of Jimmy Nelson's music from yours. Such a loss.

Greg Colvin