David Junior Kimbrough, quite possibly the most important blues guitarist of the second half of the 20th century, redefined blues. Junior's approach to music is so hugely different from anything that came before him that he ranks among the three greatest bluesmen of all: Son House, Bukka White, and Fred McDowell. An originator, Junior did more than build on certain tradition or perfect a certain style. Junior re-imagined the blues; he made a sound for himself.
If Junior's sister had been any kind of baby-sitter he might not have picked up the guitar. When Junior was too small to help his father work the fields his eldest sister stayed home with him. She was supposedly watching him the day he took his father's guitar off the high shelf, where his father kept everything he didn't want his children fooling with. It became routine: when his father left for the fields, Junior carefully took down the guitar. He learned fast and well, well enough to teach a local white boy, Charlie Feathers, how to play.
Junior was six years old, and his sister was doing her usual bang-up job of babysitting the day he took a gallon jug of corn off the high shelf. His mother found him in an alcohol-induced coma; she thought Junior was dead. Junior's father recognized the problem and knew the solution: his daughter needed a whipping and Junior belonged in the field. After two years of high school Junior was lured into Holly Springs by a job at the John Deere dealership.