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Johnny “Cootie Stark” Miller

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Johnny “Cootie Stark” Miller

Birth
Abbeville County, South Carolina, USA
Death
14 Apr 2005 (aged 78)
Greenville, Greenville County, South Carolina, USA
Burial
Piedmont, Greenville County, South Carolina, USA GPS-Latitude: 34.7054787, Longitude: -82.3925247
Memorial ID
View Source
Johnny "Cootie Starks Sugar Man" Miller

Johnny Miller was born December 9, 1926 in Abbeville, SC to the late John Henry and Lola Starks. He departed this life on April 14, 2005.

Johnny was a great musician, although he became blind at an early age he never let his handicap stop him, he would always say "you look so good." He touched many peoples lives with his music. He traveled across the country under the stage name of "Cootie Starks Sugar Man," making and recording blues and gospel music, under music maker labels along with agent Tim Duffy. Johnny did openings acts for great artist such as Aretha Franklin, B. B. King and the Nelville Brothers and many others. He was loved and will be missed by everyone.

He leaves to cherish fond memories four sisters, Mamie M. Harrison of Brockton, Mass., Mattie L. Calhoun of Abbeville, SC, Margie R. Martin of Aberdeen, :Miss., and Betty J. (Charles) Stevens of Abbeville, SC, Agnes John¬son and Dorothy M. Hudson reared in the home; four brothers, Bobby J. (Celia) Starks of Greenville, SC, Charles A. (Varerie) Starks of Brockton, Mass., Foster L. (Mattie) Starks and Jessee L. Starks both of Brockton. Mass.; two aunts, Pearl L. Burnette of Greenville, SC and Corrie M. Hunter of Abbeville, SC and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins; a special friend Ronda Wenger of Atlanta, GA and a neighbor, Ruby Nell Jones of Greenville, Sc.
James (or possibly Johnny) Miller Stark was a Carolina Piedmont blues musician. Plagued with poor eyesight since birth, he learned to play and sing the blues to make money busking, as no other work was usually forthcoming due to his disability. Though Stark's eyesight deteriorated and he eventually became legally blind, he continued his Blues career. He travelled across South Carolina performing at various local music venues before retiring to Greenville.

He was discovered by Tim Duffy of the Music Maker Relief Foundation when he was over seventy years old. Stark released two albums: Sugar Man (1999) and Raw Sugar in 2003, and appeared with Blues harmonica player Neal Pattman and Kenny Wayne Sheppard on Sheppard’s CD and DVD 10 Days Out: Blues From the Backroads, released in 2007.
He was honoured in 2005 with the SC Arts Commission Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award.


Sources:

ibiblio.org, (unknown) [Online] Available from: http://www.ibiblio.org/musicmakers/mm4000b/mm4008.html
[Accessed 25-11-2014]

Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards (2014) [Online]
Available from: http://www.southcarolinaarts.com/folkheritage/recipients.shtml
[Accessed 25-11-2014]

Leblanc,E.,and Eagle,B.,(2013)Blues: A Regional Exploration, ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara, CA, P. 289

Johnny "Cootie Starks Sugar Man" Miller

Johnny Miller was born December 9, 1926 in Abbeville, SC to the late John Henry and Lola Starks. He departed this life on April 14, 2005.

Johnny was a great musician, although he became blind at an early age he never let his handicap stop him, he would always say "you look so good." He touched many peoples lives with his music. He traveled across the country under the stage name of "Cootie Starks Sugar Man," making and recording blues and gospel music, under music maker labels along with agent Tim Duffy. Johnny did openings acts for great artist such as Aretha Franklin, B. B. King and the Nelville Brothers and many others. He was loved and will be missed by everyone.

He leaves to cherish fond memories four sisters, Mamie M. Harrison of Brockton, Mass., Mattie L. Calhoun of Abbeville, SC, Margie R. Martin of Aberdeen, :Miss., and Betty J. (Charles) Stevens of Abbeville, SC, Agnes John¬son and Dorothy M. Hudson reared in the home; four brothers, Bobby J. (Celia) Starks of Greenville, SC, Charles A. (Varerie) Starks of Brockton, Mass., Foster L. (Mattie) Starks and Jessee L. Starks both of Brockton. Mass.; two aunts, Pearl L. Burnette of Greenville, SC and Corrie M. Hunter of Abbeville, SC and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins; a special friend Ronda Wenger of Atlanta, GA and a neighbor, Ruby Nell Jones of Greenville, Sc.
James (or possibly Johnny) Miller Stark was a Carolina Piedmont blues musician. Plagued with poor eyesight since birth, he learned to play and sing the blues to make money busking, as no other work was usually forthcoming due to his disability. Though Stark's eyesight deteriorated and he eventually became legally blind, he continued his Blues career. He travelled across South Carolina performing at various local music venues before retiring to Greenville.

He was discovered by Tim Duffy of the Music Maker Relief Foundation when he was over seventy years old. Stark released two albums: Sugar Man (1999) and Raw Sugar in 2003, and appeared with Blues harmonica player Neal Pattman and Kenny Wayne Sheppard on Sheppard’s CD and DVD 10 Days Out: Blues From the Backroads, released in 2007.
He was honoured in 2005 with the SC Arts Commission Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award.


Sources:

ibiblio.org, (unknown) [Online] Available from: http://www.ibiblio.org/musicmakers/mm4000b/mm4008.html
[Accessed 25-11-2014]

Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards (2014) [Online]
Available from: http://www.southcarolinaarts.com/folkheritage/recipients.shtml
[Accessed 25-11-2014]

Leblanc,E.,and Eagle,B.,(2013)Blues: A Regional Exploration, ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara, CA, P. 289


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