John Adams Estes, 25 January 1899, Ripley, Tennessee, USA, d. 5 June 1977, Brownsville, Tennessee, USA. This influential blues singer first performed at local house-parties while in his early teens. In 1916 he began working with mandolin player Yank Rachell, a partnership that was revived several times throughout their respective careers. It was also during this formative period that Estes met Hammie Nixon (harmonica), another individual with whom he shared a long-standing empathy. Estes made his recording debut in September 1929. He eventually completed eight masters for the RCA Records company, including the original versions of Diving Duck Blues, Poor John Blues and the seminal, often-covered Milk Cow Blues. These assured compositions inspired interpretations from artists as diverse as Taj Mahal, Tom Rush and the Kinks. However, despite remaining an active performer throughout the 30s, Estes retired from music in 1941. A...
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