See where the goal is at and support Marion James funeral this Saturday at Marion James Queen of The Blues gofundme site.
New! Official press release update below regarding funeral:
“Well, there are a whole lot of things about Jimi that were peculiar about him that we laugh about. So really, Jimi he was kind. One of the habits, I guess it’s natural for a person to do it but, I noticed that he never did like to wear no shoes. He would just walk barefooted you know.” – Marion James on Jimi Hendrix, September 2015
The Nashville Bridge: Do you think you will get up and sing with Jack Pearson?
“Oh yes, I mean, you know, if it comes to that, I think I can cover it.” – Marion James on upcoming Musician’s Reunion Show, September 2015
Nashville’s Queen of The Blues, Marion James once known as “House Rockin’ James” back in the day when Jefferson Street was jumping with Live Music passed away where she always called home: Nashville, Tennessee on December 31, 2015.
Marion James, photo – Brad Hardisty
Marion James kept busy helping others through The Marion James Musicians Aid Society as well as planning events such as the Annual Musicians Reunion which featured legendary Nashville Blues and related genre Artists as well as featuring more recently established artists ranging from Alabama’s Debbie Bond to local guitar and vocal legend Regi Wooten.
The first tribute to Marion James to be released was written by Nate Rau at The Tennessean which covered a great overview of her 60 year career. There are great quotes by those who worked the closest to her, David Flynn [current President of The Musicians Aid Society] which has helped in times of need, the older musicians that trace their lineage to Jefferson Street for close to twenty years and Lorenzo Washington [Jefferson Street Sound] who released her last official recording, “Back In The Day” whose lyrics were about the biggest passion in her life; to tell the “Historia” [Marion liked to use the Spanish version of the word]as she used to say of Jefferson Street and the importance of the Jefferson Street scene in the history of Nashville’s musical past .
She was the strongest ambassador of the great sounds that came out of North Nashville during the time that she recorded the top ten hit in 1965 “That’s My Man” written by her late husband, James “Buzzard” Stewart. The single was re-released on vinyl as a limited edition recently on Record Store Day in the United Kingdom with the original Excello label.
“Buzz” Stewart was known as a great horn arranger and putting together a great band that backed Marion. The band featured great young players, like Jimi Hendrix who stayed in Nashville after being discharged from Fort Campbell, Kentucky along with a young Billy Cox [Jimi Hendrix].
Upon hearing of Marion’s passing, Billy Cox remembered one time, not too long ago, when he was in Los Angeles and Marion’s name came up. He said it was surprising how many players were in Marion’s band at one time or another back in the day including Billy Cox saying that Marion also took him under her wing as a young musician.
Billy Cox is featured in the photograph of Marion James’ band that is on the cover of Night Train To Nashville Volume Two 1945 -1970 which was taken in 1971 after Jim Hendrix had passed away.
Marion James was included in The Country Music Hall Of Fame exhibit “Night Train To Nashville” as well.
Marion James even recorded a song by Billy Cox, “Find Out (What You Want)” for Nashville label K&J Records.
Marion James at 30th Annual Musicians Reunion and Benefit, photo- Brad Hardisty
Marion James had a story about every great musician that set foot on Jefferson Street. One time she talked about riding with her girlfriend in the back of Arthur Gunter’s [“Baby Let’s Play House”] big car that he kept shined up for many years after receiving the royalties from Elvis Presley’s recording of his song which he had originally released on Nashville’s Excello records. She described how you had to keep your feet up since you could see the road through the rusted-out floor boards.
In recent years, Marion James had released recordings in the United Sates and Italy, most recently Northside Soul [Ellersoul Records] was recognized as one of the greatest blues recordings to come out in 2012.
While continuing her Musicians Awards show as well as the Musician’s Reunion, Marion was currently fundraising to erect a statue of Jim Hendrix outside the current Elks Lodge on Jefferson Street which was once The Baron Club, sight of the infamous guitar dual instigated by Jimi [Jimmy back then] Hendrix versus Johnny Jones who was headlining the club. During that fateful night, by all accounts, Johnny Jones got the best of Jimi but that was way before his days in New York City or London.
Marion James, “Nashville’s Queen of the Blues” sings “24 Hours A Day” at Metro 50th Concert, photo – Brad Hardisty
Marion James last large stage performance was to over ten thousand fans as one of the headliners at the Nashville Metro 50th celebration outdoor concert which also included Emmylou Harris, Sam Bush and Del McCoury.
Marion became well known not only as a performer and recording artist but a songwriter and over the last two years she had been working on a gospel song which she hoped to include on a future full length recording.
Marion also hoped to one day return to the road in Italy where she had fond memories of performing in the past.
Marion James funeral will take place where her heart was at Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church, 2708 Jefferson St, Nashville, TN 37208 next to the Elks Lodge where her committee had been working tirelessly with support from the community to enshrine the Jimi Hendrix Nashville legacy this Saturday, January 9th 2016 at 11:00 AM.
A Marion James gofundme page has been established by current President of The Marion James Musicians Aid Society, David Flynn to help with the proceeding while longtime friend and music entrepreneur, Lorenzo Washington [Jefferson Street Sound] is working with Marion’s family members to make sure that all the details are complete that Marion had asked for.
UPDATE Jan. 5. 2015:
David Flynn email@example.com
Funeral services for Marion James, Nashville’s “Queen of the Blues,” will be held this Saturday. At 10 a.m. a horse-drawn carriage will convey her casket from Smith Brothers Funeral Directors, 706 Monroe Street, to the Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church, 2708 Jefferson Street. A one hour visitation at the church featuring music will begin at 11 a.m. and the service will start at noon. Several ministers and a series of speakers will celebrate the life of Ms. James. She died of a massive stroke on December 31, 2015.
Marion James, 81, was officially declared “Queen of the Blues” by the Nashville mayor’s office last September after a lifetime of blues music and of helping others. She had a national top-ten hit, “That’s My Man”, in 1966, and recorded a number of CD’s over the years including Northside Soul released in 2012. Jimi Hendrix got his professional start as a member of her band. Ms. James founded the Marion James Musicians Aid Society, which for decades has helped musicians in need. Her Musicians Reunion, a fundraising all-day blues festival, celebrated its 32nd year in 2015.
A gofundme account has been set up for those who want to help with her funeral expenses. The link is: https://www.gofundme.com/marionjames .