A long-time Clarksdale, Mississippi
resident musician, and favorite of visiting blues fans
from around the world, Foster Wiley a.k.a. “Tater, The
Music Maker” passed away Friday, September 10, 2010 at
Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, TN.
Affectionately called “Mr. Tater”
by his legion of fans, he was perhaps best known for his
daily performances throughout downtown Clarksdale, as
well as his late night jams at Ground Zero Blues Club,
Red’s Lounge, Delta Amusement, and Club 2000. Whether
on foot or riding his bicycle, Tater was rarely without
a smile or his guitar.
He tirelessly pursued his next gig,
a recording opportunity, or a chance to sell his CD's.
Those close to him often referred to him as "the hardest
working man in show business". His efforts paid off as
he was featured in both national and international media
circles, including The New York Times, BBC, CNN, CBS and
NPR. He was also featured in several video documentaries.
The joy on his face when he performed was unparalleled.
A regular act at the Sunflower River
Blues Festival, he always opened the acoustic stage. Tater
performed onthe 23rd annual Sunflower Festival's acoustic
stage in the Clarksdale Civic Auditorium Saturday, Aug.
7th, with longtime friend John Ruskey as M/C. Later, he
and his signature "Tater kick" drew applause from the
Main Stage audience Saturday night when he performed with
his friend Jimbo Mathus.
Musicians and friends John Ruskey,
Jimbo Mathus, Bill Abel, Will Dawson and others helped
Tater record over a dozen CDs, including "Electric Tater",
featuring "Boomerang" and "Walkin' the Front Street Crying";
"Check It In - Check It Out!" featuring "Get off that
Cat"; and the recently released “Best of Mr. Tater” featuring
"Just a Walk in the Park" and interviews. As anyone whoever
played with him can attest, he correctly proclaimed, “I
never sing the same song twice.”
He was laid to rest at Heavenly
Rest Cemetery in Clarksdale on Tuesday, September 14,
Tater's Facebook page
View a wonderful mini-doc
video about Mr. Tater, made two years ago,
courtesy of Barefoot Workshops on Vimeo.
YouTube The Alcazar Hotel "Dig the Unified
Theory!", a video from Will Dawson and his band which
reveals another dimension of Tater.