Foster "Tater, The Music Maker" Wiley

Rest in Peace

March 25, 1947 - September 10, 2010

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, 2010.

Visit Tater's Facebook page

View a wonderful mini-doc video about Mr. Tater, made two years ago, courtesy of Barefoot Workshops on Vimeo.

Watch on YouTube The Alcazar Hotel "Dig the Unified Theory!", a video from Will Dawson and his band which reveals another dimension of Tater.

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