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Fuller Up, The Dead Musician Directory 
 Eugene Powell
Natural Causes.....Nov. 4, 1998
Age 89
OBITUARY 
BIOGRAPHY  
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OBITUARY 
        
        from Deja News 
                      Pat LeBlanc 
                      crossroads@TECINFO.COM 
                      Date: Thursday, November 05, 1998 4:23 PM 
                      Subject: Eugene Powell has passed 
           

          It's a sad day in the Delta.  Eugene "Sonny Boy Nelson" Powell passed 
          away yesterday at Delta Medical Center in Greenville, Mississippi. 

          I confirmed this with Redmond Funeral Home.  His Family has not been  
          notified.  Eugene spent the last days of his life in a lonely nursing  
          home.  He was a good friend.  I enjoyed his company and I'm glad I had 
          an opportunity to work with this blues legend. 

          I will post the obituary from the Delta Democrat Times in the morning. 
          It is a very sad day. 

          Patrick LeBlanc

       
 

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BIOGRAPHY
          
        This Biography is from  Brian O'Connor  of Founder Delta Blues . Com 

        Born:  December 23, 1908,  Died:  November 4, 1998 

        Eugene Powell was born on December 23, 1908 in Utica, Mississippi, a small town 
        approximately 25 miles southwest of Jackson in Hinds County.  Shortly thereafter, his  
        parents Arma and Rosie Powell moved to a plantation, at Lombardy in the Delta, near  
        Shelby, Mississippi.  While at Lombardy, Eugene began to play guitar at the age of seven.  

        Together with his half brother Ben on a mandolin, Eugene began to play as a novelty  
        act at picnics and suppers and for prisoners at Mississippi State Penitentiary.  In 1915,  
        Eugene's half brother, the late Bennie "Sugar" Wilson, may have been the inspiration 
        for Eugene to learn the banjo-mandolin too.  

        The Powell Family, again, moved to Hollandale in Washington county in the early 1920's. 
        This is when Eugene Powell began his formative years with the Chatmon Family.  

        The beginning of the musical Mississippi heritage for Eugene Powell was also the 
        beginning for Charley Patton and Walter Vincson.  They got their musical apprentice- 
        ship from an ex-slave fiddle player named Henderson Chatmon.  

        He was the father of the Chatmon Family whose sons formed the group, The  
        Mississippi Sheiks.  Eugene Powell grew up with the Chatmon Family when they 
        moved from Bolton, Mississippi - Central Mississippi, to Hollandale in the Delta in  
        the 1920's.  It was in Hollandale where Eugene Powell's instrumental interplay  
        began with Henderson Chatmon and his sons Bo, Lonnie, Ty, Harry, Sam, Willie, 
        Bert, Lamar, Edger and Charlie.  Eugene Powell became a sometime member  
        and recording member of The Mississippi Sheiks.  Mississippi's most  
        commercially successful Blues artist.  

        The Eugene Powell Family and the Chatmon Family worked on the Kelly Drew  
        Plantation in Hollandale together.  The true professional of the Jackson Blues, 
        Delta Blues and Forty-Fours were Eugene Powell and his playing partners, the 
        Chatmons, Richard "Hacksaw" Harney and Ernest "44" Johnson.  Eugene Powell  
        played many instruments:  banjo, guitar, harmonica, horn, mandolin, violin, and 
        played lead most of the time when accompanied with another musician.  

        Eugene Powell's guitar was a Silvertone and he inserted an aluminum resonator 
        into it like those found on the National guitar.  He also fitted a seventh string,  
        using the 12 string models as his inspiration.  The extra string was a 'C' an  
        octave higher than the conventional string.  

        By the end of the 1940's, Eugene played rarely as new styles and trends  
        subjugated his abilities and left him unappreciated.  

        Understandably, Eugene does not have the spark of his earlier playing,  
        but his Country Delta sophisticated playing style stands out as being one  
        of the greatest Blues soloists and accompanists of his time. 

 
 

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