Jewell “Babe” Stovall - Blues singer, guitarist (1907 - 1974)
Jewell “Babe” Stovall was a unique Mississippi Bluesman, his finger picking style combined by his use of the National Steel Guitar, gave him an original and distinctive tone.
Stovall was born in Tylertown, Mississippi and began playing around with the guitar at an early age. His guitar technique was influenced by Tommy Johnson, whom he met in Mississippi during the 1930s Depression era. He started with the usual playing at local parties and social functions, before moving to Louisiana sometime in the ‘30’s. He traveled between there and his hometown for quite a spell doing a series of odd jobs yet kept playing, winding up in New Orleans in the 1960’s.
Though there were some sessions done in the late ‘50’s, Stovall’s first recognition came for Verve in 1964, released as “Babe Stovall.” He was back in the studio in ’66 and ’68 which are now out as “The Old Ace: Mississippi Blues & Religious Songs,” released on Arcola in 2003.
Stovall was an excellent and adaptable blues guitarist who could move from Delta blues to folk to gospel. With his original and dramatic picking, he was fortunate to enjoy the Blues Revival, being active on the folk and blues college circuit, and played regularly at the Dream Castle Bar in New Orleans, where he died in 1974.