Harrison D. “Peppermint Harris” Nelson Jr

While the blues did not originate in the region, but were profoundly influenced in our area and certainly rock, in the form of rockabilly, was here and prominent on the verge of its rise to national and world prominence. Without Boogie Woogie, which originated in our area, there would have been no jazz. “Without Boogie Woogie, Rock and Roll would not have emerged as it did, and jazz would be very different from what we have.” Harrison D. “Peppermint Harris” Nelson Jr. (July 17, 1925 – March 19, 1999) grew up in Texarkana where he would have been exposed to the Boogie Woogie and blues that flourished in the saloons and entertainment houses in the area. These could be heard easily for many blocks in a time when windows and doors were left open in good weather and there were no motors or other loud noises. By the late 1940s he was friends with the great Lightnin’ Hopkins, who accompanied him on his first recording. In 1950 he became “Peppermint Harris” when, so it is said, producer Bob Shad forget his actual name when he released “ Raining In My Heart .” His fame peaked in 1951 with the release of ” I Got Loaded ” which reached #1 on the Billboard charts. His later releases did well, but never reached the top of the charts. In his later years he recorded in Shreveport and New Jersey, his last album being on the “Home Cooking” label in 1995. He died at the age of 73 in New Jersey.