Tag Archives: Leon Mitchison

R.I.P. the Texas Twister

Guitarist Melvin Sparks

Though it had been many years since he called Houston home, it still deeply saddens me to report the Texas Twister himself, guitarist Melvin Sparks left this mortal coil yesterday. Tuesday March 15th 2011, Melvin Sparks passed from complications related to diabetes one week before he was to turn 65 years of age.

If you ask anyone that saw Sparks perform in his early years here in Houston, they all will tell you the same thing. It was always apparent he was destined for great things. He cut his teeth playing alongside as well as studying under the tutelage of the Elder Statesman of Houston soul and jazz, Leon Mitchison. After which Sparks joined Grady Gaines’ The Upsetters Band (Gaines still performs to this day around Houston) where he backed nothing short of a laundry list of some of the greatest singers and musicians the world has ever seen including Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, The Supremes, Little Richard, Solomon Burke, Stevie Wonder, Wilson Pickett and Jackie Wilson amongst others.
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Filed under Bayou City Soul, jazz