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MEMPHIS MAIL BY MR. SCOTT DUNBAR

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Published on Jun 27, 2012

Blues guitarist, Scott Dunbar was born in 1905 on Deer Park Plantation between the Mississippi River and Lake Mary. After his father died, Scott moved to Natchez, where he was raised by his mother. That may be as far as he ever traveled from Wilkinson County, Mississippi where he became a local legend.

Dunbar is said to have made his first guitar out of a cigar box and a broom stick when he was 10. He learned to play by listening to recordings in the 1920's, 30's and 40's and by working on the steamboats that ran up and down the river around Natchez. There were always traveling musicians going from St. Louis to New Orleans which afforded him the opportunity to listen to and learn many styles of playing, everything from ragtime, blues to jazz.

Eventually Dunbar wrote his own songs. But it wasn't until he was close to 70 years old that he made his first and only recording, "Live From Lake Mary." A reviewer of the reissue on CD described Dunbar's music as "ragged and downhome...the Natchez blues in all their unvarnished, unsophisticated beauty." He was asked once what his music meant to him, Dunbar replied, "Well, I'll tell you, if it feels good to the people, it feels twice as good to me."

He was the father of 6 children, supporting them by making his living as a fisherman and guide around Lake Mary. But his reputation as a musician expanded with the many local parties he played. Unlike most blues singers of his time, Dunbar didn't generally play the standard juke joints, fish fries, picnic dances like most bluesmen. Instead he played private parties primarily for white audiences around Lake Mary and even around St. Francisville, Louisiana. Rest in Peace Mr. Dunbar.

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