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Willie Nix (August 6, 1922 -- July 8, 1991) was an American Chicago blues singer and drummer, active in Memphis, Tennessee, United States, in the 1940s and 1950s.

Life and career

Born in Memphis, as a child he learnt to tap dance, later working as a teenager as part dancer, part comedian, with the Rabbit Foot Minstrels. This led to work in various variety shows in the 1940s, and Nix later became a part of the blues scene that grew up around Beale Street (see Memphis Blues). His musical work saw him appear on local radio with Robert Lockwood Jr., and work alongside Willie Love, Joe Willie Wilkins and Sonny Boy Williamson II, billed as the Four Aces, who toured the Deep South. Further Memphis based radio work in the mid 1940s, saw Nix appear with both B.B. King and Joe Hill Louis, and later the same decade Nix worked with the Beale Streeters. In 1951, Nix made his first recording for RPM Records in Memphis, and a year later he later recorded for Checker Records.

He recorded for the Sun Records label and others in the 1950s, including the Chicago, Illinois based duo of Chance and Sabre. Nix wrote the songs "Nervous Wreck" and "Prison Bound Blues", and variously worked with Elmore James, Johnny Shines, and Memphis Slim.

By the end of the 1950s, Nix returned to Memphis, and spent a short time in prison before the 1960s started. The next twenty years saw Nix perform spasmodically, and as his health declined, his behaviour became more eccentric. He did not record again, although his mid 1950s work is held in high regard for his lyrical dexterity and compelling beat.

Nix died in Leland, Mississippi, in 1991.