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Arvella Gray

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Biography

b. Walter Dixon, 28 January 1906, Somerville, Texas, USA, d. 7 September 1980, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Brought up in farm work, Gray left home early and travelled, eventually moving north. In 1930, he lost his sight and two fingers of his left hand in a fight, and took to making music for a living. He played blues, with a rudimentary bottleneck guitar style, on the streets of Chicago for many years, and became well known for his regular appearances at the Maxwell Street outdoor market and other locations around the city. He attracted the attention of younger blues fans and, in the 60s and 70s, appeared in concerts, festivals and even a couple of short films. His repertoire was limited, but he made a number of records, including some singles, which he sold on the streets.