|Birth: ||Feb. 5, 1898|
|Death: ||Sep. 18, 1966|
Blues Musician. Will Shade was best known as a founding member of the Memphis Jug Band. He was commonly called Son Brimmer, a nickname from his grandmother who raised him. Mr. Shade composed many of the band's songs and also sang vocals and played harmonica. The band grew and shrank for over the years and recorded different styles of music including blues and gospel. Mr. Shade was in charge of the band's recruitment efforts and business affairs and wrote many of the band's compositions. The band broke up in the late 1930s due to the city's violence and a change in the Memphis music scene. In the 1940s Mr. Shade formed and played in various jug bands in the Midsouth. Jug band style music was revived in the mid-1960s and Mr. Shade saw his music become popular again. He recorded his last album in the 1960s as an accompanist to blues musician Gus Cannon. Will Shade died of pneumonia at John Gaston Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
Burial location note:
Will Shade was buried in 1966 in grave number 497. The Health Department describes the location as "approximately due north of the big trees, six feet south of the road." This location is approximate because graves were not permanently marked until 1990.
Will Shade Tribute by Arlo Leach:
Published in Memphis Flyer
by Preston Lauterbach
May 8, 2008
JUG BAND PIONEER WILL SHADE HONORED WITH GRAVE MARKER
Early twentieth-century Memphis musician Will Shade slipped into obscurity after a prolific recording career in the 1930s, and then into an unmarked hole in the ground following his death in 1966. Shade's music with the Memphis Jug Band--an outfit that featured homemade instruments like the jug, washtub bass, washboard, and comb in addition to guitar, banjo, harmonica, and kazoo-- sounds archaic by today's standards, but in their heyday of the late '20s and early '30s they celebrated the wild and wooly life on Beale Street, singing the joys and darkness of booze, voodoo, and legal cocaine. An eclectic group of fans attired in bowler hats, vintage ties, and flapper gowns gathered at the Shelby County Cemetery last Saturday morning to pay Shade tribute and dedicate the new monument that marks Shade's grave. Chicagoan Arlo Leach led a fund-drive to purchase the stone and emceed the tribute. After a few words of remembrance, the celebrants broke out their harmonicas, jugs, guitars, kazoos, and mandolins and regaled Shade's spirit with a few of his compositions, improvising verses to commemorate their affection for Shade or the day's occasion. Following the jam, a toast was proposed, and cups of brandy (Shade's poison, so to speak) circulated. Celebrants drank and spilled shots on Shade's stone that evaporated quickly into the breeze. University of Memphis ethnomusicologist David Evans summed up Shade's audience as "the movers and shakers in Memphis, as well as those who were moved and shaken."
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Shelby County Cemetery
Plot: Number 497
Created by: Carole McCaig
Record added: Jan 20, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 17593415
Mary & Kent
Added: Jul. 27, 2011
GLAD YOU HAVE A STONE WILL! THANKS FOR THE MUSIC|
Added: Dec. 9, 2009
After 42 years of anonymity, a marker was installed on Will Shade's grave today. May the music and memories live for another 42 years and many more.|
Added: Apr. 30, 2008