Author Fred Steen
About the Author
My name is Fred Steen; I was born 'A Slave' on a cotton plantation located in the Mississippi Delta. When I was born, slavery was still in vogue, contrary to the popular misconception that President Abraham Lincoln 'Freed the Slaves'. I learned at an early age to say 'Sir' and I was picking cotton soon as I understood what would happen to me if I didn't pick like hell. My grandfather was an old Delta bluesman, so as soon as I was able to sing the blues with him we would beg for pennies with my tin cup. We would sing and play on the roads and on every street corner of every country town all the way from New Orleans to Chicago. You could say that I was a certified 'Hobo'. I could jump a freight train with the best of them and that was before I was ten years old. By that time, I had already witnessed a lynching and burning. I worked on the Levees as a water boy, with the railway gangs as a spike setter because the hammers were too heavy for me and I worked my way up to a Mule Skinner down on the Hobar line. I did all of this while still a 'Man-child'. Grandma often said that we were of the proud Zulu blood line. I learned to read and write during my brief attendance at Smith-Robertson school in Jackson, after that my formal education was a continuing process from Mississippi to the stock yards and the steel mills of Chicago and Gary Indiana. I worked at the open hearth furnace when I was 16 years old.
Fred Steen on Author's Den
Fred Steen takes Shakespeare’s famous theatrical metaphor to heart, by giving his readers a peek into the secret world behind the great curtain of life, into that shadowy place backstage where the audience never sees. Have your tickets ready, and find your seat quickly. The First Act is about to begin...
Bluesman is the story of a young man whose dream is to play, sing and preach the blues. It is the story of how it began for him on the cotton plantations of the deep South in the 1940s, about his growing up to pay his dues, about reaching up and grabbing iron to board the freight train north to the Promised Land of Chicago, about turning to the Hoo Doo woman when in trouble, about hearing the hammers ringing on the chain gang and of how sometimes the devil just wouldn't ever seem to let him go. But more than telling about the life and times of one Roosevelt Lincoln Washington, aka Delta Sonny, Bluesman is the story about a tradition of living music, which was as much a part of peoples' everyday lives as the air they breathed. A celebration of life, its joys and suffering, as it was sung in the Blues.