Remembering Sleepy John Estes
Sleepy John Estes (1899-1977)
On Sunday afternoons in the early-70s, Sleepy John Estes used to play in Memphis, and I used to go and see him. He played in a store near Burkle's Bakery on Overton Square. I can't remember whether it was a bar. He was already old, but his music was remarkable, but there weren't that many people who came out to see him. Maybe Steve Lavere booked these small gatherings. Maybe there were only hippies and blues fans in the audience. I'm not sure.
Estes had a remarkable and venerable mumble when he spoke and when he sang. It's evident in one of my favorite Estes tunes, Mailman Blues (sorry, no embed). But it didn't matter. Even as an old man, even near the end, even though he was quite feeble, but he knew how to rock. And he did.