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Skip James biography



Skip James Born: June 21, 1902, Bentonia, Mississippi Died: October 3, 1969, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Also known as: Nehemiah Curtis James Skip James is known for his unique, haunting style of blues. He combined falsetto vocals with minor chords, complex finger picking, an idiosyncratic tuning, and a highly personal style of songwriting to create some of the genre's most original music. James was one of Robert Johnson's biggest influences; his original song "Devil Got My Woman" was reworked by Johnson and became the latter's signature hit "Hellhound on my Trail". Like many of his contemporaries of the early Delta blues scene, he turned to another means of livelihood, becoming a preacher at the age of 30 and turning his musical attention to gospel. By chance James was rediscovered during the early 1960s, and subsequently thrilled blues fans at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival, thereby re-launching his career. It was obvious that his musical skills were still as sharp as ever and his unique style was intact. In 1966 the band Cream released a popular version of James's original "I'm So Glad."