Son Bonds (March 16, 1909 – August 31,
1947) was an American country blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. He was
a working associate of both Sleepy John Estes and Hammie Nixon, and was
similar in his guitar playing style. According to Allmusic journalist, Jim
O'Neal, 'the music to one of Bonds's songs, 'Back and Side Blues' (1934),
became a standard blues melody when Sonny Boy Williamson I from nearby
Jackson, Tennessee, used it in his classic 'Good Morning, School Girl'.' The
best known of Bonds's other works are 'A Hard Pill To Swallow' and 'Come
Born in Brownsville, Tennessee, Bonds was also billed on record as
'Brownsville' Son Bonds, and Brother Son Bonds.
Sleepy John Estes earlier recorded work had used backing from Yank Rachell
(mandolin) or Hammie Nixon (harmonica), but by the late 1930s he was
accompanied in the recording studio by either Bonds or Charlie Pickett
(guitar). Bonds also backed Estes at a couple of later recording sessions in
1941. In reverse, either Estes or Nixon played on every one of Bonds's own
recordings. In the latter stages of his career, Bonds played kazoo as well
as the guitar on several of his tracks.
According to Nixon's later accounts of the event, Bonds suffered an
accidental death in August 1947. While sitting on his own front porch late
one evening in Dyersburg, Tennessee, Bonds was shot to death by his
short-sighted neighbor, who mistook Bonds for another man with whom his
neighbor was having a protracted disagreement.