The online magazine of the Institute for Southern Studies
Southern Exposure Contributor
Mance Lipscomb (1895-1976): Texas guitarist, songster, farmer and bluesman. Listed in Who’s Who In America. Bom by the Navasot River in an arm of the Brazos bottoms 75 miles northwest of Houston. Planted, plowed, chopped and picked cotton from 1906 to 1956. Played Saturday Night Suppers in the Brazos bottoms from 1912 to 1956, where he developed the knack for playing 18 hours straight and a repertoire of 350 songs spanning two centuries.
“Discovered” and recorded by Arhoolie Records in 1960. Played his first folk festival at Berkeley in 1961, before an audience of 41,000.
Went on to play most of the major folk and blues festivals from 1961 to 1973, including Berkeley, Newport, Monterey, Ann Arbor, Miami, Los Angeles and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, DC. Played in most of the 48 continental states and Canada.
Recorded eight-and-a-half albums and appears on several blues anthologies. Starred in the biographical movie “A Well-Spent Life,” by Les Blank and Skip Gerson. (1980)