Willie Nix


photograph of Willie Nix

Willie Nix (August 6, 1922 — July 8, 1991) was an American blues singer and drummer.

Born in Memphis, as a child he learnt to tap dance, later working as a teenager as part dancer, part comedian, with the Rabbit Foot Minstrels. This led to work in various variety shows in the 1940s, and Nix later became a part of the blues scene that grew up around Beale Street, Memphis. His musical work saw him appear on local radio with Robert Lockwood Jr., and work alongside Willie Love, Joe Willie Wilkins and Sonny Boy Williamson II, billed as the Four Aces, who toured the Deep South. Further Memphis based radio work in the mid-1940s, saw Nix appear with both B.B. King and Joe Hill Louis, and later the same decade Nix worked with the Beale Streeters. In 1951, Nix made his first recording for RPM Records in Memphis, and a year later he later recorded for Checker Records.

He recorded for the Sun Records label and others in the 1950s, including the Chicago, Illinois based duo of Chance and Sabre. Nix wrote the songs "Baker Street Boogie", "Nervous Wreck" and "Try Me One More Time" a.o., and reworked others such as Catfish Blues and Curtis Jones' Lonesome Bedroom Blues. He variously worked with Big Walter Horton, Elmore James, Johnny Shines, and Memphis Slim during his active years.
By the end of the 1950s, Nix returned to Memphis, and spent a short time in prison before the 1960s started. The next twenty years saw Nix perform sporadically, and as his health declined, his behaviour became more eccentric. He did not record again, although his mid-1950s work is held in high regard for his lyrical dexterity and compelling beat.
Nix died in Leland, Mississippi, in 1991.
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1922-08-06 to 1991-07-08