Hammie Nixon was born in 1908, in Brownsville, Tenn. He began his music career with jug bands in the 1920s and is best known as a country blues harmonica player, but also played the kazoo, guitar and jug. He played with guitarist Sleepy John Estes for half a decade, first recording with Estes in 1929 for the Victor label. He also recorded with Little Buddy Doyle, Lee Green, Charlie Pickett and Son Bonds.
During the 1920s Nixon helped to pioneer the use of the harmonica as a rhythm instrument in a band setting, rather than a novelty solo instrument. After Estes died in 1979, Nixon played with the Beale Street Jug Band (also called the Memphis Beale Street Jug Band). Nixon's last recording, "Tappin' That Thing" (Hmg Records), was recorded shortly before his death in 1984.
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Nixon was the leading blues harmonica player in Brownsville, and a frequent visitor to Memphis, playing in street bands on jug, kazoo and harmonica.
When Estes was located in 1962, Nixon was found also (proving to be a cheery extrovert, despite his sorrowful harmonica sound), and came out of musical retirement to tour and record with Estes until the latter's death.
Thereafter, Nixon continued to play concerts and festivals, and made occasional recordings, though these were often disappointing, as they often overemphasized his kazoo and his rudimentary guitar.
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