Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper is reporting the death of beloved local
bluesman Fred Sanders Jr, who passed away on Saturday,
January 15, 2010 a week after suffering a stroke. Sanders had also been
battling cancer for several years; he was 71 years old at the time of his
death, but had continued performing and teaching guitar until he was
hospitalized for the stroke.
After graduating from Manassas High School in Memphis, Sanders joined the
Army, landing in Corpus Christi, Texas where he picked up the guitar. He
returned to Memphis in the late 1960s, quickly becoming a fixture on the
thriving local blues scene. Nicknamed Fred "Good Guitar Playing" Sanders, he
was the house guitarist at Club Paradise in Memphis, where he backed artists
like B.B. King,
Bobby "Blue" Bland, and
Albert King. Through the years Sanders had
also played with jazz artists like Buddy Rich and Duke Ellington.
A talented instrumentalist that could perform in just about any style,
Sanders was a big-hearted man who freely gave his time to mentor younger
musicians in the ways of the blues. On Beale Street, Sanders will be
remembered as a dynamic showman who never failed to entertain the audience.
Our thoughts go out to his family, friends, and many fans in the Bluff City