Memphis soul singer remembered with Beale Street sendoff

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Family and friends said goodbye to a Memphis soul singer and Beale
Street fixture.

A musical procession down Beale Street was held Saturday in honor of James Govan, the singer was a favorite on the historic street and home of the blues.

Govan performed for decades at Rum Boogie Cafe where he played for tourists in downtown Memphis with the Boogie Blues Bland and pianist Charlie Wood.

His musical reach extended far beyond Memphis and the United States. Govan performed several times at the Porretta Soul Festival in Porretta, Italy and was a favorite among European music fans.

He was nicknamed “Little Otis” because his vocal style was often compared to Stax legend, Otis Redding. However, he was also known for being a talented guitarist and percussionist.

His last studio album called “I’m In Need” was released in 1996.

Govan was born in Mississippi but lived much of his life in Memphis. He passed away last week. His funeral was held Saturday in Bartlett.

James Govan was 64.

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