Life and career
Sims was born in Anguilla, Mississippi, United States, the only son of five children. He learned to play the fiddle from his grandfather.
Sims saw active service in France during World War I, whilst serving in the US Army.
Sims went on to be the leader of the Mississippi Corn Shuckers, a rural based string ensemble and played with them for a number of years. His profile was extended by joining his childhood friend, Charlie Patton, on a recording session for Paramount Records, which took place in Grafton, Wisconsin in June 1929. Sims both accompanied Patton on fiddle on thirteen tracks, including "Elder Greene Blues",
"Going to Move to Alabama" and "Devil Sent the Rain Blues"; as well as recording four tunes of his own. These included "Tell Me Man Blues", his best known composition, and "Farewell Blues". Sims played alongside Patton at times until the latter's death in 1934, when Sims returned to working on a plantation. Sims had by then extended his playing repertoire to include the mandolin, guitar and piano.
On August 28, 1941, Sims accompanied Muddy Waters on a recording session. This took place under the direction of Alan Lomax, as part of his recordings for the Library of Congress. In the 1940s, Sims also accompanied Robert Nighthawk on several joint appearances, and continued a solo career in to the 1950s.
Sims died following renal surgery in December 1958 in Memphis, Tennessee, at the age of 68. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Bell Grove Baptist Church Cemetery, Clarksdale, Coahoma County, Mississippi.
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