Houston Stackhouse Biography

28 September 1910, Wesson, Mississippi, USA, d. 1981. Despite his colourful name and his reputation among his peers, Stackhouse only received interest and acclaim towards the end of his life, although he played a contributory role in the development of delta blues. He became an active musician in his teens, learning first harmonica, violin, then mandolin and guitar. Moving to Crystal Springs, Mississippi, he came under the influence of Tommy Johnson and his brothers, Clarence and Mager. He in turn taught his first cousin, Robert Nighthawk, and on one occasion the pair worked with Jimmy Rodgers in Jackson, Mississippi. During the 30s, with Carey ‘Ditty’ Mason and Cootsie Thomas, he worked in a band modelled on the Mississippi Sheiks, with whom he occasionally played. In April 1946, Nighthawk summoned him to Helena, Arkansas, where he was advertising Mother’s Best flour on station KFFA, with a band that included Pinetop Perkins and Kansas City Red. Stackhouse then became a member of the King Biscuit Boys, led by Peck Curtis when Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) was out of town. A day job with Chrysler and gigs with the Biscuit Boys continued through the 50s. He was not recorded until August 1967, in a session that also included Nighthawk and Curtis. A week later, he recorded with ‘Ditty’ Mason. Tracks from these sessions appeared on anthologies released by Testament, Arhoolie, Matchbox and Flyright. During the 70s, Stackhouse became a regular participant in blues festivals throughout the USA. As befitted the station he had taken for himself, his death in 1981 went unrecorded.

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

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