The following story was contributed by James Hill on November 24, 2013.
It was the summer of 69. That was a magical summer for me, Man walked on the Moon, girls weren’t yucky anymore, and Jinx Black came to East Liverpool. It was one of those hot summer afternoons where all you wanted to do was sit on the stoop and be lazy. I saw Jinx walking down the Center Alley, carrying a huge tweed guitar case. He was a giant of a man, tall, muscular, and weather beaten. I watched him as he walked right into my Uncle’s house, yahoo!!! I’ll get to meet this guitar player. I ran inside and related to my Mom what I had seen, and asked who he was? She told me that would be your Aunt Wanda’s brother Jinx. She told me to keep my distance, as he was a Hobo. (Yeah, like that was going to happen.) Jinx really was a Hobo, he rode the rails and followed the crops and worked as a picker, mainly in the Florida citrus groves. Before long I met Jinx and asked about his guitar. He pulled a beautiful, cream colored arch top from the case and started to play. Holy crap I never heard any of my friends play like that, it was blend of fingerpicking, blues, bluegrass and gospel all rolled into one. We became fast friends and I showed him the few chords I knew. He worked with me the next several weeks and before he left, I could play Folsom Prison Blues and Your Cheating Heart, Jinx’s style. Jinx came to town about every summer for the next few years. He taught me a lot more than just about guitar, he told me to always respect women, work hard, and never drink as he felt it had ruined his life. He was a fixture playing for drinks at the Mahattan on second street, the Green Mill, and the old Oasis. He was a full blooded Black Foot Indian and taught me about signs and medicine. Then one year Jinx didn’t come to town. I was a senior in high school and didn’t notice as much as I should have. Then when I was home for summer break from college I asked my Mom if anyone had heard from Jinx, I knew by her look something was wrong. Jinx had died hopping a train somewhere down south, and nobody knew for a long time till the police finally tracked down the family. Just felt like sharing Jinx with you guys. He was guitar player and a real figure in the history of music in East Liverpool in the 50’s and 60’s.
We are looking for more information on Jinx that can be included here. If you have any information you can contribute, including photos or stories, please email them to Amy Hissom-Daugherty.