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Bobo Jenkins

Bobo Jenkins was born on 07/01/1916 in Forkland, Alabama. His full birth name was John Pickens Jenkins. He grew up with his mother and uncle after his father died when he was less than a year old. Before the age of 12, Jenkins left home and moved to Memphis, Tennessee. He got married for the first time at the age of 14, the first of ten marriages. Jenkins took up casual work in the Mississippi Delta for several years before enrolling in the US army.
In 1944, Jenkins was discharged from the army. He moved to Detroit where he worked for Packard before working for Chrysler for 27 years.
In the later 1940s, Jenkins learnt to play the guitar and started writing his own songs. #
In 1952, Jenkins wrote the song "Democrat Blues" on US Election Day. It was inspired by Jenkins' displeasure at Dwight D. Eisenhower becoming the first Republican president for almost 20 years.
In 1954, Jenkins recorded "Democrat Blues" in Chicago with help from John Lee Hooker. It was released by Chess Records. He would then release a song with Boxer Records in Chicago.
In 1957, Jenkins released the song "Ten Below Zero" with Fortune Records in Detroit.
In 1959, Jenkins set up his own record label Big Star Records. The first release on the label was Jenkin's single "You'll Never Understand" and "Tell Me Where You Stayed Last Night". Jenkins would meet and play alongside Sonny Boy Williamson II, before he constructed his recording studio. He recorded local musicians such as James "Little Daddy" Walton, Little Junior Cannady, Chubby Martin and Syl Foreman.
In 1972, Jenkins promoted the first Detroit Blues Festival. Also in 1972, Jenkins released his first album called "The Life of Bobo Jenkins".
In 1973, Jenkins was one of the headline acts at the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival.
In 1974, Jenkins released the album "Here I Am a Fool in Love Again", which featured the political song "Watergate Blues". It included the sessions musicians Sarah Brown, Fran Christina and Steve Nardella.
In 1976, Jenkins performed at the Smithsonian Institution for the US Bicentennial.
In 1977, Jenkins released the album "Detroit All Purpose Blues" which also included the blues musicians Buddy Folks and Willie D. Warren.
In 1982, Jenkins went on the American Living Blues Festival tour. He suffered from poor health and had to return after the first concert.
On 14/08/1984, Jenkins died after a long illness in Detroit, Michigan.

The Music History Calendar is written by the Blues Rock artist Marshland Pete
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