Henry "Son" Sims

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Henry "Son" Sims
Birth name Henry Sims
Born (1890-08-22)August 22, 1890
Anguilla, Mississippi, United States
Died December 23, 1958(1958-12-23) (aged 68)
Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Genres Delta blues[1]
Occupation(s) Fiddler, songwriter
Instruments Fiddle, guitar, piano, mandolin[2]
Years active 1920s–1950s
Labels Paramount
Associated acts Charlie Patton, Muddy Waters

Henry "Son" Sims (August 22, 1890 – December 23, 1958)[1] was an American Delta blues fiddler and songwriter. He is best known as an accompanist for Charley Patton and the young Muddy Waters.

Life and career[edit]

Sims was born in Anguilla, Mississippi,[1] the only son of five children. He learned to play the fiddle from his grandfather.[1] Sims served with the US Army in France during World War I.

Sims went on to be the leader of the Mississippi Corn Shuckers, a rural string ensemble, and played with them for a number of years. He joined his childhood friend Charley Patton in a recording session for Paramount Records in Grafton, Wisconsin, in June 1929.[1][3][4][5] Sims accompanied Patton on fiddle on thirteen tracks,[4] including "Elder Greene Blues", "Going to Move to Alabama" and "Devil Sent the Rain Blues";[3] and recorded four of his own songs, including "Tell Me Man Blues", his best-known composition, and "Farrell Blues".[1] He played alongside Patton at times until the Patton's death in 1934,[5] when Sims returned to working on a plantation.[3] By then he could also play the mandolin, guitar and piano.[1]

On August 28, 1941, Sims accompanied Muddy Waters in a recording session[1][6] under the direction of Alan Lomax, as part of his recordings for the Library of Congress.[3] In the 1940s, Sims also accompanied Robert Nighthawk on several occasions. He continued a solo career into the 1950s.[5]

Sims died following renal surgery in December 1958 in Memphis, Tennessee, at the age of 68.[2] He was buried in an unmarked grave in Bell Grove Baptist Church Cemetery, in Clarksdale, Coahoma County, Mississippi.[5]


Year Title Appears on
1929 "Tell Me Man Blues" Screamin' and Hollerin' the Blues: The Worlds of Charley Patton;
Violin, Sing the Blues for Me: African-American Fiddlers 1926–1949
1929 "Farrell Blues" Screamin' and Hollerin' the Blues: The Worlds of Charley Patton;
The Great Race Record Labels, Vol. 1
1929 "Be True, Be True Blues" Mississippi Blues 1927–1941
1929 "Come Back Corrina" Screamin' and Hollerin' the Blues: The Worlds of Charley Patton


See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Layne, Joslyn. "Henry 'Son' Sims". Allmusic. Retrieved March 18, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Doc Rock. "The 50s and Earlier". Dead Rock Stars Club. Retrieved 2015-10-03. 
  3. ^ a b c d Gioia, Ted (2008). Delta Blues. New York: W. W. Norton. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-393-06258-8. 
  4. ^ a b Dicaire, David (1999). Blues Singers: Biographies of 50 Legendary Artists of the Early 20th Century. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. p. 7. ISBN 0-7864-0606-2. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Henry 'Son' Sims". Findagrave.com. Retrieved March 18, 2012. 
  6. ^ "McKinley Morganfield 'Muddy Waters': Delta School". Cr.nps.gov. Retrieved March 18, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Henry "Son" Sims: Songs". Allmusic. Retrieved March 18, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Mississippi Blues 1927–1941 (Yazoo, 1968)". Record-fiend.blogspot.co.uk. June 7, 2010. Retrieved March 18, 2012.