Lewis grew up on a farm near Eulala in Alabama and Georgia . He spent most of his adult life in Chicago, where he moved in the 1930s and performed in small clubs. His musical role models were Tampa Red , Barbecue Bob and Blind Lemon Jefferson . Through his main job as a house painter , he made acquaintance with the filmmaker Harley Cokliss , who filmed a documentary about the Chicago Blues . His appearance in the film, in which he presents songs like Hobo Blues and When I’m Gone , led to recording sessions for Arhoolie Records in the early 1970s and the LP Alabama Slide Guitar . The Chicago-based album featured a number of Country Blues and Spirituals such as the songs dedicated to the Martin Luther King You Gonna Miss Me , I Got to Climb a High Mountain , and My Little Gal (with Charlie Musselwhite ).
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