Saturday, March 17, 2018

Jumpin' Willie Cobbs - Cotton Sack Blues

 Copyright B(or D) Caldwell

Copyright: Susan Greenberg

Thanks to Juke Joint Blues & Soul blog for the top photo and Maple Blues for pointing both of them out out.

Now it would be great if the cover turned for this is very rare CD.

Jumpin’ Willie Cobbs, Chicago blues singer, dies at 74
Chicago West Side blues singer “Jumping” Willie Cobbs, 74, died on June
21,2007 and was buried  Sat. June 30  from House of Branch Funeral home,
3125 W. Roosevelt Rd.

Born in Monroe, Arkansas May 26, 1933, one of 13 children, Mr. Cobbs
worked in farming until moving to Chicago in the late 1950s.  He operated
his own tire shop, J.W. Tire Repair, at 3515 W. Madison on the West side
of Chicago.

Known for an energetic, raw, rhythmic style of singing and jumping and
running in place on stage, Mr. Cobbs said he was a cousin to another blues
performer, the harmonica-playing Willie Cobbs.  Jumping Willie played at
the former Starlight neighborhood club at 5th and Pulaski and occasionally
at the former Vila Kula on the North side and at Rosa’s Lounge at Armitage
and Homan. Prof. Steve Balkin of Roosevelt University also recalled that
Cobbs sang on the Maxwell Street bandstand during the protests against the
destruction of the old storefronts at the site of the historic open air

Jumping Willie was married to Annie Clark-Cobbs  and they had two
children, Gloria Cobbs-Hammed and  Michelle Cobbs.  His other children are
Laura Johnson, Ernest Lee Sanders, and Willie Jr. He leaves seven
grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Jumping Willie Cobbs suffered a stroke in late April and spent his last
two months in Woodbine nursing home. His daughter Gloria said in the
funeral home obituary that he spent his last days “laughing, cursing, and
preaching, teaching and telling old stories of his life. Willie liked
telling jokes and talking about no-good peoples in his life, but most of
all enjoyed watching his favorite movies Desparado and Bruce Lee, every
day and night until he fell asleep.”

She wrote that her dad “had a lot of energy that would amaze you, if you
ever knew or went to any of his show performances. Jumpin’ Willie Cobbs
and the Fireballs was a show to see and remember.”

Larry Taylor, one of the musicians who had played drums and sang with
Jumpin Willie, said he looked up to Cobbs as a leader in the West Side
blues tradition.  Taylor said he plans to ask Barry Dolins at the Mayor’s
Office of Special Events to honor Cobbs’ name in a proposed West Side
revue for next year’s Chicago Blues Festival.

Cobbs’ daughter Gloria said that after he became ill, her father had a
chance one day to go back to J.W. Tire Repair, wait on customers, teach
his grandson some things about the family business, and talk and joke with
friends.   “Willie was an entrepreneur, and a proud black businessman who
loved making his own money and able to help other people. He enjoyed
meeting good peoples along the way.”

Gloria said she would ask her dad , “Where did you get those blue eyes and
dimples and you’re a black man? He’d just laugh and say, ‘I am a funny
looking man.’”  She added, “Willie was a person you would have never
forgotten, once you met and talked to him. A very outspoken person,
lovable and humble, forgiving and strong human being. Who loved to talk a
lot of stuff.”

--Obituary compiled by Bonni McKeown and Larry Taylor

Jumpin' Willie did put out his own CD called  "Cotton sack Blues." It had
a picture of him standing in cotton field with a cotton sack. He was from
Arkansas and did some farming there.  The song "Cotton Sack Blues" went
something like "44." Jimmy Dawkins helped him put the record together and
may have some of Willie's music.

--Larry Taylor

In Livin' Blues no. 123 Jumpin' Willie is also mentioned but unfortunately I don't have a copy.

KansasJoe post:

BobMac cover art:


muddyw123 said...

What a great one!!!

Albert said...

Thank you so much for this treasure, Xyros

Maple Blues said...

picture of him here

Bob Mac said...

Thanks for this Xyros & KansasJoe. Love getting copies of these rare ones.

Bob Mac said...

Little bit more about him here. Apparently Johnny B.Moore played guitar on these recordings.

Bob Mac said...

Seems this was a private (homemade) album and it was reviewed in Living Blues #123. It would be good if someone still has a copy of LB 123. Gerard perhaps? Then we might see the original album cover. It also seems that both Johnny B. Moore & Lester Davenport play on this recording.

I've made up front and back covers for this. Anyone is welcome to use them if they want. Here's the link:

Ballas said...

Thank you very much for posting this very difficult to find album. It's efforts like this that makes this blog a treasure for blues collectors.

Xyros said...

Glad you all liked this rare cd provided by KansasJoe. It's surprising how little there is on the internet about Jumpin' Willie and even less on the cd.
I've also posted it somewhere else and hope that someone can supply a scan of the cover, if so I'll post it. Thanks go to BobMac for the homegrown cover.

muddyw123 said...

Tx again. Great search, good info!

Albert said...

He is also in Soul Bag n°158 in french...The Band is Johnny B. Moore-guitar,Lester 'Mad dog' Davenport-harmonica, Baldhead Pete-drums...

muddyw123 said...

Tx Albert. Baldhead on drums èh. Didn't had a clue. Tx.