Frank Stokes Biography

Downtown Blues
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1 January 1888, Whitehaven, Tennessee, USA, d. 12 September 1955, Memphis, Tennessee, USA. Stokes was raised in Mississippi, taking up the guitar early in life. He worked on medicine shows, and in the streets of Memphis in the bands of Will Batts and Jack Kelly. By 1927, when Stokes and his fellow guitarist Dan Sane made their first records as the Beale Street Sheiks, they were one of the tightest guitar duos in blues, heavily influenced by ragtime, and also performing medicine show and minstrel songs. Stokes was the vocalist, and played second guitar. They recorded together until 1929. However, Stokes also recorded solo, and with Will Batts on fiddle. Stokes’ recorded personality is that of the promiscuous rounder, by turns macho or pleading for another chance. His singing is forthright, with impressive breath control. Stokes and Sane worked together until illness forced Stokes to retire completely from music in 1952.


Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.


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