We are lucky to have many of his family mambers to talk to. I have come to know personally several of his heirs, children and grandchildren, especially Annie Hall and Richard Lipscomb. Many of his grandchildren were raised as his own. Of particular note was a convesation I had with one of his sons...
John Lockett glided into the Navasota Bluesfest, decked out in a dapper bone-colored suit and fedora, shades, and a face that looked like, well, Mance Lipscomb. But I took one glance and surmised he was a writer for a Houston R&B magazine, or something like that. Busy with my Bluesfest duties, I never imagined I would find out.
Like many Blues musicians, he was largely self-taught, generating a unique style of music that gave him a release from the toils of share-cropping, while it entertained people from all walks of life. He was best remembered as a local entertainer that crossed all social and racial barriers with ease.
When Mance was finally discovered in the 60’s he had put to memory over 300 songs. He had sat beside Blind Willie Johnson as early as 1916, and learned his slide guitar tricks. He had seen Blind Lemon Jefferson play in Ft Worth several times between 1917 and 1920. He had played for Jimmie Rodgers right in his own neighborhood. He had rivaled with Lightning Hopkins in Houston, who seemed to know better than to be put up against him. And he lived to impress a whole new batch of American legends who came to hear him play. Bob Dylan. Eric Clapton, Joan Baez, Taj Mahal, Leon Russell, and even Frank Sinatra once asked for a private concert on his yacht. Like some of his own idols, Mance became a legend in his own time, personally demonstrating his guitar techniques to Rock & Roll greats who sought him out.