Jack Owens

Birth name L. F. Nelson
Born November 17, 1904
Bentonia, Mississippi, United States

Died February 9, 1997 (aged 92)
Yazoo City, Mississippi, United States
Genres Delta blues, Bentonia School, rhythm and blues roots, gospel
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, farmer
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano, fife, fiddle

Jack Owens (November 17, 1904–February 9, 1997) was an American Delta blues singer and guitarist, from Bentonia, Mississippi.

Owens was born L. F. Nelson. His mother was Celia Owens; his father was George Nelson who abandoned his family when Jack was 5 or 6 years old. After that time, he was raised by the Owens family with his maternal grandfather, the father of eight children, according to the 1910 census, two of whom shared the Nelson name. (This does not account for two more children born after that census.) While very young, Owens learned some chords on the guitar from his father and an uncle. He also learned to play the fife, fiddle, and piano while still a child, but his chosen instrument was the guitar.

Owens did not seek to become a professional recording artist. He farmed, sold bootleg liquor, and ran a weekend juke joint in Bentonia for most of his life. His peer, Skip James, had left home and traveled until he found a talent agent and a record label to sign him, but Owens preferred to remain at home, selling liquor and performing only on his front porch. He was not recorded until the blues revival of the 1960s.

Owens travelled the music festival circuit in the United States and Europe in the last decades of his life, often accompanied on harmonica by his friend Bud Spires, until his death in 1997.

Owens died in Yazoo City, Mississippi, in 1997, at the age of 92.

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