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Waits, Freddie  

Barry Kernfeld

jazz and soul music drummer, was born Frederick Douglas Waits in Jackson, Mississippi, the son of Lillie B. Weathers. His father's name is unknown. Waits played drums as a child and studied flute and drums at Lanier High School. At age sixteen, in the summer before his senior year, he toured with the Upsetters, accompanying the rhythm and blues musician Little Willie John. In this setting he first performed in New York City at Smalls' Paradise.

At Jackson State College, Waits majored in music, with flute as his primary instrument. While in college he played in bands that accompanied the rhythm and blues musicians Percy Mayfield, Ivory Joe Hunter, and Sam Cooke on tour, and Sonny Boy Williamson, John Lee Hooker, and Memphis Slim in their visits to Jackson. From about 1962 to 1963 traveling back and forth between Jackson and Detroit ...