Mississippi Writers and Musicians
MISSISSIPPI MUSICIANS: Frank Stokes


Frank Stokes

Major Works

  • "I Got Mine"
  • "Nehi Mamma Blues"
  • "Tain't Nobody's Business If I Do"
  • "Take Me Back"
  • "How Long"
  • "South Memphis Blues"
  • "Bunker Hill Blues"
  • "Memphis Rounder Blues"
  • "Right Now Blues"
  • "Chicken You Can't Roost Too High for Me"
  • "Mr. Crump Don't like it"
  • "You Shall"
  • "Hey, Mourner" 

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Frank Stokes: A Biography

Frank Stokes was one of the famous musicians of the Memphis blues scene in the 1920's and 1930's. He was a solo artist and one half of The Beale Street Sheiks. Frank Stokes was born in Whitehaven, Tennessee in January 1, 1888, but he was raised in Mississippi. Frank Stokes traveled the south with tent shows and was often accompanied by Dan Sane, with whom he formed the duo called The Beale Street Sheiks. The group's sound was a combination of good times and down home blues, a throwback to earlier styles. . From 1927 to 1929, Frank Stokes, together with Dan Sane, recorded for the Paramount label while Stokes also cut some solo sides for Victor. In addition, Stokes recorded a famous song called "I Got Mine," one of a group of pre-blues songs about gambling, stealing and living high. Stokes recorded 38 sides for Paramount and Victor, including blues as well as older pieces like "Too High for Me," an outstanding version of "You Shall," and "Hey Mourner," a traditional anticlerical piece.

Stokes possessed a remarkable voice and was an skillful guitarist. His duets with Sane have wonderful rhythm. (Eyeneer). With the arrival of the Great Depression and the decrease in recording opportunities, Stokes and Sane went back to playing street corners, occasional circuses, and traveling shows. Stokes slowly faded from the blues scene in the mid 1940's and died September 12, 1955 of a stroke. 

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Timeline

1888 : Frank Stokes was born in Whitehaven, Tennessee, on January 1.

1925 : He plays regularly outdoors around Memphis with guitarist Dan Sane, violinist Will Batts, and singer Jack Kelly.

1927 : Stokes and Sane form Beale Street Sheiks and make their first recordings.

1929 : He makes his final recordings.

1952 : He turns to religion.

1955 : He dies from a stroke on September 15 at 67. 

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Related Websites

America Genre Blues. Profiles of Frank Stokes. Address : http://www.eyeneer.com/America/Genre/Blues/ Profiles/stokes.html (Date : 4/1/97

The Blue Fame Cafe. Biography of Frank Stokes.. Address : http://www.surfin.com/TheBlueFameCafe/Frank_ Stokes.html . Date : 4/1/97

Tunes. Frank Stokes and Blues. Address : http://www.tunes.com Date : 4/3/97 

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