b. 4 October 1907, Tylertown, Mississippi, USA, d. 21 September 1974, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. More properly regarded as a songster in the tradition of Mance Lipscomb, Stovall emerged in the blues revival of the mid-60s. The youngest of 12 children in a sharecropping family, he taught himself to play the guitar, encouraged by his schoolteacher. He learned his first tune, later twice recorded as ‘Maypole March’, from his eldest brother Myrt Holmes. During the 20s, Stovall became part of a group of musicians, congregated around an older man, Herb Quinn, that played for both black and white audiences. In the mid-30s, Tommy Johnson married a local girl, Rosa Youngblood, and stayed in the area for some years. Stovall, along with Arzo Youngblood, O.D. Jones and Roosevelt Holts, learned Johnson’s ‘Big Road Blues’ and copied his style. Around this time, he married, and moved to Franklinton, Louisiana. In 1957, he began to play on the streets of New Orleans’ French Quarter. He was recorded, twice in 1958, and once with brother Tom on mandolin in 1961, by Larry Borenstein, the tapes remaining unissued until 1988. A full session, with accompaniment from banjo and string bass, was recorded in 1964, but was poorly distributed by Verve Records. Stovall joined the folk circuit thereafter, appearing at the first five New Orleans Jazz And Heritage Festivals from 1970-74.
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