FAIRFAX, Va. - John Jackson, who went
from gravedigger to one of the preeminent blues musicians in the country,
died Sunday from kidney failure. He was 77.
During his long career, Mr. Jackson played
for presidents and in 68 countries.
Mr. Jackson earned a living as a cook, a
butler, a chauffeur, and a gravedigger before his music career took off.
He was playing guitar for some friends at a gas station in Fairfax in 1964
when Charles L. Perdue, who teaches folklore at the University of
Virginia, pulled in to get some gas. He and Mr. Jackson became friends,
and Perdue helped launch Mr. Jackson's career by introducing him to people
in the music business.
The seventh son of 14 children, Mr.
Jackson had just three months' education at the first-grade level, but he
won over fans from all walks of life around the world. B.B. King, Eric
Clapton, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, and Pete Seeger are among those he has
played with and befriended.
Among his numerous awards is the National
Endowment for the Arts' Heritage Fellowship Award, which he received in
This story ran on page B12 of
the Boston Globe on 1/24/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.