Monday, October 29, 2012


Boyd Rivers was born December 25, 1934 in Madison County, Mississippi.
He was brought up in the church by his mother and was influenced by regional musicians such as Clyde Maxwell and  his uncle, the gospel legend, Reverend Cleophus Robinson.
Rivers started out on two nails and a wire on awall, and played blues guitar as early as 13, but switched into sprituals around the age of 16.

When he was 29 he married Ruth May who was a non professional singer from the local gospel choir.
He moved to Canton, Mississippi where in 1978 was filmed by Alan Lomax,  John Bishop and Worth Long  in a stunning performance. He played :

"You Got To Take Sick And Die"
"Come Out The Wilderness"
"Fire In My Bones"
"Wrapped Up, Tied Up, Tangled Up"
"Heard The Angels Singing"
"Soon One Morning"
"I Done Die Time One Time (Ain't Gone Die No More)"

Axel Kunster and Siegfried Christmann recorded Rivers recorded later Rivers in the same year for the L&R records series "living country blues" and he appears on "Living Country Blues vol. 11".
Alan Thomposn dedicated in his book "Woke Up This Morning"  a chapter tohim.

Boyd Rivers died in Jackson, Mississippi on Novenmber 22, 1993.

Here is a CRAZY version of "You Got To Take Sick And Die" live from the 1979 Mississippi Delta Blues Festival.


  1. This guy is a true rockstar!
    That is the only SG guitar I would ever play... never mind Tony Iommi and Angus Young.
    Thanks much for posting information on Boyd. Talent is a weak word for describing his passion. I added this page to my bookmarks. : )

  2. I'm listening to YOU CAN'T MAKE ME DOUBT right now. It's always fascinating to me that such simple music can be so powerful, even after all the 'through-composed' art music that I've listened to, and played, all the Alban Berg, the Beethoven, the Bach. This music that has a deep African line running through the middle of it, played with such feeling and ferocious passion. It's really great! This is made of stuff that is way older than western art music. It's like magic. And anyone that can tap into that well of eternal raw and direct feeling can do it....but look around, and realize that not everyone does. This is primal, and really special.

  3. you gotta take sick and die..
    says it all dont it?
    true words sung with true power
    great singer