Cootie Stark was one of the last authentic Piedmont blues guitarists/singers and provided a direct link to a South long gone.
How We Helped:
Cootie Stark joined the Music Maker Relief Foundation family in 1995. Music Maker gave Cootie assistance with sustenance grants for prescription medicine, provided him with stage clothes and wardrobe options, helped him obtain a passport, and purchased his headstone after his passing in 2005. In addition, Music Maker arranged extensive tours for Cootie throughout Europe and the United States with Taj Mahal, gave him a new guitar, and produced several albums for him. Cootie is also featured on numerous Music Maker and DixieFrog compilation CDs, in the book Music Makers: Portraits and Songs from the Roots of America (2004), and in the Kenny Wayne Shepherd documentary 10 Days Out. Some of Cootie’s gigs included the Lincoln Center in New York, the Portsmouth Blues Festival in New Hampshire, the Charleston Blues Festival in South Carolina, Taj Mahal Fishin Blues in Costa Rica, and tour stops with Neal Pattman in France, Germany, and Belgium.
A blind street singer, he learned his stuff from Greenville, South Carolina, bluesmen Uncle Chump and Pink Anderson in the 1930’s. At 70 he rediscovered his unplugged genius and has headlined at festivals throughout the U.S. and Europe. His card catalog repertoire runs from soul classics to Piedmont blues songs like “Sandyland” and “Metal Bottoms.”