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Abshire, Nathan (27 June 1913–13 May 1981), Cajun musician, was born near Gueydan, Louisiana, the son of Lennis Abshire. His mother’s name is unknown. From a family of accordion players, Abshire made his public dance hall debut on the accordion at the age of eight. Like many other rural French-speaking people of Louisiana during his youth, he had little schooling and never became literate in his preferred French or in English. He married Olia Boudreaux, and he and his wife adopted one son....

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Mullican, Moon (29 March 1909–01 January 1967), honky-tonk pianist and vocalist, was born Aubrey Wilson Mullican in Corrigan, Texas, the son of Oscar Luther Mullican, a farmer, and Virginia (maiden name unknown). Oscar Mullican raised cotton, corn, and peas on ground that Mullican, who was noted for his colorful speech, later characterized as “so poor, it would take two mad Irishmen and a gallon of whisky just to raise a fuss on it.” Mullican learned the rudiments of guitar from an African-American farmhand, Joe Jones, who worked for his father. Oscar Mullican bought a pump organ in 1917 so that the children could learn how to play religious music. In 1923 Mullican played his first dance as leader of a trio, and by the time he was fourteen, he was slipping into Lufkin, Texas, at nights to play piano in bars for tips. At age sixteen, he left home after an altercation with his father and went to Houston. By that point he had developed a distinctive style on the piano that was rooted in barrelhouse and boogie-woogie styles. He also had a good mastery of the popular songs of the day that he had acquired from a neighbor’s phonograph....

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Rose, Fred (24 August 1897–01 December 1954), music publisher, songwriter, and pianist, was born Knols Fred Rose in Evansville, Indiana, the son of Andrew Rose and Annie West. Little is known about either parent. His childhood in St. Louis, Missouri, was Dickensian in its poverty and insecurity; when he was as young as seven, he was singing for change in various saloons and being shuttled about to various relatives. It was little wonder that he left St. Louis when he was around fifteen, hopping a freight train to Chicago, where he established a base of operations for the following fifteen years. His first marketable skill was as a pianist, and he joined jazz great ...