Macavine Hayes’ zest for life on the road and his hauntingly primitive guitar style were the personification of blues in its rawest form.
Macavine Hayes was a Florida man, born in Tampa on June 3,1943. His family farmed, and he was the oldest of five sisters and five brothers. And his memories of a childhood on the farm were sweet.
“There was always something to do down on the farm,” he told us. “We listened to the radio and got up on the back porch and played the music of Chuck Berry and Jimmy Reed.”
After he grew up and began playing what he called the “cold, hard truth” of the blues, Macavine’s life changed when he met Guitar Gabriel, Music Maker’s earliest partner artist, playing on the streets of Tampa. Theirs was a partnership that lasted for years.
“Gabe taught me how to experience the road, sleep outside, go to some gal’s house and spend the night sometimes. Go to church on Sunday,” Macavine said. “We always carried nice suits and shoes. We would look good. We did a lot of travelin’. We went to Atlanta, down to Augusta and all through Florida. We played at juke joints and we’d lay a hat down. Gabe was a free spirit and taught me that you can go anywhere you want to go.We ran a drink house together for years down on Claremont Avenue.
“Living with Gabe was not a hard life — you just had to drink all the time.”