Archived Story

Jimmy Lee Anderson

Published 12:00am Friday, October 11, 2013

Nov. 21, 1934 — Oct. 5, 2013

NATCHEZ— Funeral services for Jimmy “Soul Man Lee” Anderson, 78, of Natchez, who died Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, at Natchez Community Hospital, will be at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at West Gate Funeral Home in the George F. West Memorial Chapel.

Burial will follow Tuesday at the National Cemetery under the direction of West Gate Funeral Home.Anderson,Jimmy

Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, with a “Celebration of Life” wake service at 7:30 p.m. at the funeral home.

Jimmy “Soul Man Lee” Anderson was born on Nov. 21, 1934, in Woodville, the son the late Jennie Lee Rising. He was reared by Mrs. Leola Newell in the Maple St. neighborhood, in which he lived on and off, for most of his life.

Being a multi-talented individual, he became a shoe shiner, mechanic, truck driver, carpenter, painter, police officer, DJ, singer, guitar player, harmonica player and drummer. His first and foremost love was playing the harmonica, which he began playing at the age of 8. He mastered the instrument with the greatest of ease, entertaining customers at a friend’s snowball wagon.

He served his country for two years in the U.S. Army before launching his career. He along with Mrs. Newell were dedicated members of the Natchez chapter of the NAACP and was known as champions in the fight for justice and social equality. Later in the 1950s, he moved from Natchez to Baton Rouge, where he lived the life of a blues man, serenading crowds with his harmonica in the juke joints and in other towns east of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

While in Baton Rouge, he put together a band, Jimmy Anderson and the Joy Jumpers, with two guitar players, a drummer and Jimmy would sing and play the harmonica. During this time, he met and associated with several blues legends such as Lightnin’ Slim, Silas Hogan and Slim Harpo.

The band recorded their first record, “I Wanna Boogie,” in early 1962 and the second, “Naggin,” at the end of the same year. “Naggin” made it to Europe, where he gained fame and allowed him to participate in blues tours in Austria, Holland and London.

Jimmy “Soul Man Lee” returned to his hometown in 1969. He appeared and revived his sounds of the 70s at the Great Mississippi River Ballon race. He was featured in an article in The Natchez Democrat on Nov. 7, 2006, titled “Soul man looking to come back?”

He stated that in the mid 1970s, radio audiences would tune into Natchez’s WNAT for the sounds of famous blues artists but they all knew him as the “Voice of Natchez.” He also enjoyed the title of “King of the Swamp Blues.”

“Soul Man” served as a mentor to amateur DJs Johnny Lemon, George Lee and others to come. He made history along with Walter Squalls and Curtis Ross as the first black DJ on radio WNAT. He also worked in Centreville playing country music on radio station WZZB and WSSL AM.

He later moved onto Vidalia’s KVLA. In later years, the talented blues harmonica player, Hezekiah Early, Elmo Williams and brothers Theodis and Y.Z. Ealey brought their Bluff City blues to audiences across the country and overseas.

He is preceded in death by his mother; Leola Newell; one son, Joshua Dunbar; three uncles; and one aunt.

Survivors include three sons, Henry Bell Dorsey of Baton Rouge, Darryl Dunbar of Grenada, and DeWayne Anderson of Minneapolis, Minn.; six daughters, Tracy Robinson McGee and husband, KeWayne of Garland, TX, Gloria Bell, Hilda Bell, Jannie Anderson, all of Baton Rouge, Mary Dunbar of St. Francisville, and Patricia Anderson of Woodville; two brothers, Jimmie “Mike” James, Jr. and Oliver James and wife, Martha, all of Woodville; one sister, Linda James McMurtry and husband, Melvin of Natchez; 10 grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren; a special cousin, Essar Wilson and wife, Cheri; special friends, Sandra Robinson, Walter Squalls, Robert Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Vincent Joos; caregivers, Hilda and Kilwana; along with a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

In lieu of flowers, donations for Jimmy Anderson may be made at any Regions branch. Online codolences maybe sent to www.westgatefh.com.