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Nehemiah Curtis "Skip" James (June 21, 1902 – October 3, 1969) was an American blues singer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter. Early years James was born near Bentonia, Mississippi. As a youth, he heard local musicians such as Henry Stuckey and brothers Charlie and Jesse Sims and began playing the organ in his teens. He worked on road construction and levee-building crews in his native Mississippi in the early 1920s, and wrote what is perhaps his earliest song, "Illinois Blues", about his experiences as a laborer.