Friday, December 17, 2010

REV KM Williams The Thanksgiving Concert videos

Some Holiday Boogie Vids from the Rev shot by My Good Friend OHare! Be Blessed and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Reverend Robert Wilkins

Robert Wilkins (January 16, 1896 – May 26, 1987) was an American blues guitarist and vocalist, of African American and Cherokee descent.Robert Timothy Wilkins was born in Hernando, Mississippi, 21 miles from Memphis.He served in the Army during World War I but returned to Memphis in 1919 to become a professional musician.
Wilkins worked in Memphis during the Roaring Twenties, sharing billing with Furry Lewis, Memphis Minnie (whom he claimed to have tutored), Son House, and other musicians for local shows.
He also organized a jug band to capitalize on the "jug band craze" then in vogue. Though never attaining success comparable to the Memphis Jug Band, Wilkins reinforced his local popularity with a 1927 appearance on a Memphis radio station. Like Sleepy John Estes (and unlike Gus Cannon of Cannon's Jug Stompers) he recorded alone or with a single accompanist. He sometimes performed as Tim Wilkins or as Tim Oliver (his stepfather's name).
His best known songs are "That's No Way To Get Along" (to which he – an ordained minister since the 1930s – had changed the 'unholy' words to a biblical theme and since titled it "The Prodigal Son", covered under that title by The Rolling Stones), "Rolling Stone", and "Old Jim Canan's". His first sessions for the Victor label in 1928 yielded the droning, one-chord "Rolling Stone," whose title, if not structure, later inspired Muddy Waters.Led Zeppelin also wrote "Poor Tom", which was believed to have been influenced by "That's No Way To Get Along".
During the 1920s and 1930s, Robert Wilkins was one of the most popular blues artists associated with Beale Street. In a personal crisis, he turned to the Lord, offering his life in exchange for that of his beloved wife, and never looked back.Alarmed by fighting at a party where he was playing, he deserted secular music and he took up the twin careers of herbalist and minister in the Church of God in Christ in the 1930s, and began playing gospel music with a blues feel.
When the Rolling Stones recorded Wilkins' "Prodigal Son" in the early '60s, blues researchers found Wilkins at home in Memphis, ministering to the congregation at the Lane Avenue Church of God in Christ and performing gospel songs (which bore a striking melodic similarity to Tim Wilkins' blues) at street corner revivals.Made appearances at folk festivals and recording his gospel blues for a new audience. These include the 1964 Newport Folk Festival; his performance of "Prodigal Son" there was included on the Vanguard album Blues at Newport.His distinction was his versatility; he could play ragtime, blues, minstrel songs, and gospel with equal facility.
Wikins died in May 1987 in Memphis, Tennessee, at the age of 91.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Willie Johnson guitarist for Howlin Wolf

Willie Johnson (March 4, 1923 – February 26, 1995) was an American blues guitarist. He is best known as the principal guitarist in Howlin' Wolf's band from 1948 to 1953. His raucous, distorted guitar playing features on Howlin' Wolf's Memphis recordings of 1951-3, including the 1951 hit "How Many More Years". His early use of distortion marks him out as one of the pioneers of the electric guitar. Willie Lee Johnson was born in Senatobia, Mississippi.

As the guitarist in the first band led by Howlin' Wolf, Johnson appeared on most of Wolf's recordings between 1951 and 1953, providing the slightly jazzy yet raucous guitar sound that was the signature of all of Wolf's Memphis recordings. Johnson also performed and recorded with other blues artists in the Memphis area, including pianist Willie Love, Willie Nix, Junior Parker, Roscoe Gordon, Bobby "Blue" Bland and others.
When Wolf moved to Chicago in around 1953, he could not convince Johnson to join him. Johnson stayed on in Memphis for several years, playing on a number of sessions for Sun Records, including a 1955 collaboration with vocalist Sammy Lewis, "I Feel So Worried", released under the name Sammy Lewis with Willie Johnson. By the time Johnson relocated to Chicago, Wolf had already hired guitarist Hubert Sumlin as a permanent replacement. James Cotton later recalled that Wolf replaced Johnson because of his heavy drinking.
Johnson occasionally performed and recorded with Howlin' Wolf after settling in Chicago, and also played briefly in the band of Muddy Waters, as well as a number of other local Chicago blues musicians, including J. T. Brown, in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He made his living mainly outside of music for the rest of his life, only occasionally sitting in with the bands of his old friends around Chicago.
His final recordings were made for Earwig Records in Chicago in the early 1990s. Willie Johnson died in Chicago on February 21, 1995

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Rev. Louis Overstreet

Born: January 25, 1927
Died: April 22, 1980 .

Born in 1927 near Lakeland, LA, Louis Overstreet began singing in gospel quartets at an early age. He was working in a turpentine plant in Dequincy, LA, in 1958, however, when he felt the call to become a full-time minister. Blessed with a ferocious, deep singing voice and accompanying himself on electric guitar and bass drum (playing both at once), the Rev. Louis Overstreet, along with a gospel quartet made up of his four sons, took his own brand of street evangelism around Louisiana and to Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arizona, Nevada, and California before settling in as the pastor of St. Luke's Powerhouse Church of God in Christ in Phoenix, AZ, in 1961. It was there that Chris Strachwitz of Arhoolie Records recorded Overstreet and his congregation and sons for the 1962 LP Rev. Louis Overstreet. The album was reissued on CD in 1995 with additional tracks recorded at Overstreet's home and a track from a 1963 appearance at the Cabale Coffee House in Berkeley, CA. Overstreet passed away in 1980.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Howlin' Wolf

Chester Arthur Burnett (June 10, 1910 – January 10, 1976), better known as Howlin' Wolf, was an influential American blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player.
With a booming voice and looming physical presence, Burnett is commonly ranked among the leading performers in electric blues; musician and critic Cub Koda declared, "no one could match Howlin' Wolf for the singular ability to rock the house down to the foundation while simultaneously scaring its patrons out of its wits. A number of songs written or popularized by Burnett—such as "Smokestack Lightnin'", "Back Door Man", "Killing Floor" and "Spoonful"—have become blues and blues rock standards.
At 6 feet, 6 inches  and close to 300 pounds , he was an imposing presence with one of the loudest and most memorable voices of all the "classic" 1950s Chicago blues singers. This rough-edged, slightly fearsome musical style is often contrasted with the less crude but still powerful presentation of his contemporary and professional rival, Muddy Waters - although the two were reportedly not that different in actual personality - to describe the two pillars of the Chicago blues representing the music.
Born in White Station, Mississippi, near West Point, he was named after Chester A. Arthur, the 21st President of the United States, and was nicknamed Big Foot Chester and Bull Cow in his early years because of his massive size. He explained the origin of the name Howlin' Wolf thus: "I got that from my grandfather [John Jones]." He used to tell him stories about the wolves in that part of the country and warn him that if he misbehaved, they would "get him". According to the documentary film The Howlin' Wolf Story, Howlin' Wolf's parents broke up when he was young. His very religious mother Gertrude threw him out of the house while he was still a child for refusing to work around the farm; he then moved in with his uncle, Will Young, who treated him badly. When he was 13, he ran away and claimed to have walked 85 miles (137 km) barefoot to join his father, where he finally found a happy home within his father's large family. During the peak of his success, he returned from Chicago to his home town to see his mother again, but was driven to tears when she rebuffed him and refused to take any money he offered her, saying it was from his playing the "Devil's music".
In 1930, Howlin' Wolf met Charley Patton, the most popular bluesman in the Delta at the time. Wolf would listen to Patton play nightly from outside of a nearby juke joint. There he remembered Patton playing "Pony Blues," "High Water Everywhere," "A Spoonful Blues," and "Banty Rooster Blues." The two became acquainted and soon Patton was teaching him guitar. "The first piece I ever played in my life was ... a tune about hook up my pony and saddle up my black mare" (Patton's "Pony Blues"). Wolf also learned about showmanship from Patton: "When he played his guitar, he would turn it over backwards and forwards, and throw it around over his shoulders, between his legs, throw it up in the sky.Chester [Wolf] could perform the guitar tricks he learned from Patton for the rest of his life.Chester learned his lessons well and played with Patton often [in small Delta communities. His harmonica playing was modeled after that of Rice Miller (also known as Sonny Boy Williamson II), who had taught him how to play when Howlin Wolf had moved to Parkin, Arkansas, in 1933.

During the 1930s, Wolf performed in the South as a solo performer and with a number of blues musicians, including Floyd Jones, Johnny Shines, Honeyboy Edwards, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Robert Johnson, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Willie Brown, Son House, Willie Johnson. On April 9, 1941, at age thirty, he was inducted into the U.S. Army and was stationed at several army bases. Finding it difficult to adjust to military life, Wolf was discharged November 3, 1943, during the middle of World War II, without ever being sent overseas. Wolf returned to his family and helped with farming, while performing as he had done in the 1930s with Floyd Jones and others. In 1948 he formed a band which included guitarists Willie Johnson and Matt "Guitar" Murphy, harmonica player Junior Parker, a pianist remembered only as "Destruction" and drummer Willie Steele. He began broadcasting on KWEM in West Memphis, Arkansas, alternating between performing and pitching equipment on his father's farm after his family's move to this area in the same year. Eventually, Sam Phillips discovered him and ended up signing him for Memphis Recording Service in 1951.
Howlin' Wolf quickly became a local celebrity, and soon began working with a band that included Willie Johnson, and guitarist Pat Hare. His first recordings came in 1951, when he recorded sessions for both the Bihari brothers at Modern Records and Leonard Chess' Chess Records. Chess issued Howlin' Wolf's "How Many More Years" in August 1951; Wolf also recorded sides for Modern, with Ike Turner, in late 1951 and early 1952. Chess eventually won the war over the singer, and Wolf settled in Chicago, Illinois c. 1953. arriving in Chicago, he assembled a new band, recruiting Chicagoan Jody Williams from Memphis Slim's band as his first guitarist. Within a year Wolf enticed guitarist Hubert Sumlin to leave Memphis and join him in Chicago; Sumlin's terse, curlicued solos perfectly complemented Burnett's huge voice and surprisingly subtle phrasing. Although the line-up of Wolf's band would change regularly over the years, employing many different guitarists both on recordings and in live performance including Willie Johnson, Jody Williams, Lee Cooper, L.D. McGhee, Otis "Big Smokey" Smothers, his brother Little Smokey Smothers, Jimmy Rogers, Freddie "Abu Talib" Robinson, and Buddy Guy, among others, with the exception of a couple of brief absences in the late '50s Sumlin remained a member of the band for the rest of Wolf's career, and is the guitarist most often associated with the Chicago Howlin' Wolf sound.
In the 1950s Wolf had four songs that qualified as "hits" on the Billboard national R&B charts: "How Many More Years", his first and biggest hit, made it to #4 in 1951; its flip side, "Moanin' at Midnight", made it to #10 the same year; "Smokestack Lightning" charted for three weeks in 1956, peaking at #8; and "I Asked For Water (She Gave Me Gasoline)" appeared on the charts for one week in 1956, in the #8 position. In 1959, Wolf's first album, Moanin' in the Moonlight, a compilation of previously released singles, was released.
His 1962 album Howlin' Wolf is a famous and influential blues album, often referred to as "The Rocking Chair album" because of its cover illustration depicting an acoustic guitar leaning against a rocking chair. This album contained "Wang Dang Doodle", "Goin' Down Slow", "Spoonful", and "Little Red Rooster" (titled "The Red Rooster" on this album), songs which found their way into the repertoires of British and American bands infatuated with Chicago blues. In 1964 he toured Europe as part of the American Folk Blues Festival tour produced by German promoters Horst Lippmann and Fritz Rau. In 1965 he appeared on the television show Shindig at the insistence of The Rolling Stones, who were scheduled to appear on the same program and who had covered "Little Red Rooster" on an early album. He was often backed on records by bassist and songwriter Willie Dixon who is credited with such Howlin' Wolf standards as "Spoonful", "I Ain't Superstitious", "Little Red Rooster", "Back Door Man", "Evil", "Wang Dang Doodle" (later recorded by Koko Taylor), and others.In May 1970, Howlin' Wolf, his long-time guitarist Hubert Sumlin, and the young Chicago blues harmonica player Jeff Carp traveled to London along with Chess Records producer Norman Dayron to record the Howlin' Wolf London Sessions LP, accompanied by British blues/rock musicians Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Ian Stewart, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts and others. He recorded his last album for Chess, The Back Door Wolf, in 1973.

Wolf's health declined in the late 1960s through 1970s. He suffered several heart attacks and in 1970 his kidneys were severely damaged in an automobile accident. He died in 1976 from complications of kidney disease.

Burnett died at Hines VA Hospital in Hines, Illinois on January 10, 1976 and was buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Hillside, Cook County, Illinois in a plot in Section 18, on the east side of the road. His large gravestone, allegedly purchased by Eric Clapton, has an image of a guitar and harmonica etched into it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Muddy Waters

McKinley Morganfield (April 4, 1913 – April 30, 1983), known as Muddy Waters, was an American blues musician, generally considered "the Father of blues". A major inspiration for the British blues explosion in the 1960s, Muddy was ranked #17 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Although in his later years Muddy usually said that he was born in Rolling Fork, Mississippi in 1915, he was actually born at Jug's Corner in neighboring Issaquena County, Mississippi in 1913.[4] Recent research has uncovered documentation showing that in the 1930s and 1940s he reported his birth year as 1913 on both his marriage license and musicians' union card.
His grandmother Della Grant raised him after his mother died shortly after his birth. His fondness for playing in mud earned him the nickname "Muddy" at an early age. He then changed it to "Muddy Water" and finally "Muddy Waters". He started out on harmonica but by age seventeen he was playing the guitar at parties emulating two blues artists who were extremely popular in the south, Son House and Robert Johnson. "His thick heavy voice, the dark coloration of his tone and his firm, almost solid, personality were all clearly derived from House," wrote music critic Peter Guralnick in Feel Like Going Home, "but the embellishments which he added, the imaginative slide technique and more agile rhythms, were closer to Johnson. In 1940, Muddy moved to Chicago for the first time. He played with Silas Green a year later, and then returned to Mississippi. In the early part of the decade he ran a juke joint, complete with gambling, moonshine and a jukebox; he also performed music there himself. In the summer of 1941 Alan Lomax went to Stovall, Mississippi, on behalf of the Library of Congress to record various country blues musicians. "He brought his stuff down and recorded me right in my house," Muddy recalled in Rolling Stone, "and when he played back the first song I sounded just like anybody's records. Man, you don't know how I felt that Saturday afternoon when I heard that voice and it was my own voice. Later on he sent me two copies of the pressing and a check for twenty bucks, and I carried that record up to the corner and put it on the jukebox. Just played it and played it and said, `I can do it, I can do it.'" Lomax came back again in July 1942 to record Muddy again. Both sessions were eventually released as Down On Stovall's Plantation on the Testament label.
In 1943, Muddy headed back to Chicago with the hope of becoming a full-time professional musician. He lived with a relative for a short period while driving a truck and working in a factory by day and performing at night. Big Bill Broonzy, one of the leading bluesmen in Chicago at the time, helped Muddy break into the very competitive market by allowing him to open for his shows in the rowdy clubs. In 1945, Muddy's uncle Joe Grant gave him his first electric guitar which enabled him to be heard above the noisy crowds.Initially, the Chess brothers would not allow Muddy to use his own musicians in the recording studio; instead he was provided with a backing bass by Ernest "Big" Crawford, or by musicians assembled specifically for the recording session, including "Baby Face" Leroy Foster and Johnny Jones. Gradually Chess relented, and by September 1953 he was recording with one of the most acclaimed blues groups in history: Little Walter Jacobs on harmonica; Jimmy Rogers on guitar; Elga Edmonds (a.k.a. Elgin Evans) on drums; Otis Spann on piano. The band recorded a series of blues classics during the early 1950s, some with the help of bassist/songwriter Willie Dixon, including "Hoochie Coochie Man" (Number 8 on the R&B charts), "I Just Want to Make Love to You" (Number 4), and "I'm Ready". These three were "the most macho songs in his repertoire," wrote Robert Palmer in Rolling Stone. "Muddy would never have composed anything so unsubtle. But they gave him a succession of showstoppers and an image, which were important for a bluesman trying to break out of the grind of local gigs into national prominence.
Muddy, along with his former harmonica player Little Walter Jacobs and recent southern transplant Howlin' Wolf, reigned over the early 1950s Chicago blues scene, his band becoming a proving ground for some of the city's best blues talent. While Little Walter continued a collaborative relationship long after he left Muddy's band in 1952, appearing on most of Muddy's classic recordings throughout the 1950s, Muddy developed a long-running, generally good-natured rivalry with Wolf. The success of Muddy's ensemble paved the way for others in his group to break away and enjoy their own solo careers. At Newport 1960, helped turn on a whole new generation to Waters' sound. He expressed dismay when he realized that members of his own race were turning their backs on the genre while a white audience had shown increasing respect for the blues.

However, for the better part of twenty years (since his last big hit in 1956, "I'm Ready") Muddy was put on the back shelf by the Chess label and recorded albums with various "popular" themes: Brass And The Blues, Electric Mud, etc. In 1967, he joined forces with Bo Diddley, Little Walter and Howlin' Wolf to record the Super Blues and The Super Super Blues Band pair of albums of Chess blues standards. In 1972 he went back to England to record The London Muddy Waters Sessions with Rory Gallagher, Steve Winwood, Rick Grech and Mitch Mitchell — but their playing was not up to his standards. "These boys are top musicians, they can play with me, put the book before 'em and play it, you know," he told Guralnick. "But that ain't what I need to sell my people, it ain't the Muddy Waters sound. An' if you change my sound, then you gonna change the whole man."

Muddy's sound was basically Delta blues electrified, but his use of microtones, in both his vocals and slide playing, made it extremely difficult to duplicate and follow correctly."When I play on the stage with my band, I have to get in there with my guitar and try to bring the sound down to me. But no sooner than I quit playing, it goes back to another, different sound. My blues look so simple, so easy to do, but it's not. They say my blues is the hardest blues in the world to play." Muddy's long-time wife Geneva died of cancer on March 15, 1973. A very devastated Muddy was taken to a doctor and told to quit smoking, which he did. Gaining custody of some of his "outside kids", he moved them into his home, eventually buying a new house in suburban, mostly white Westmont, IL. Another teenage daughter turned up while on tour in New Orleans; Big Bill Morganfield was introduced to his Dad after a gig in Florida. Florida was also where Muddy met his future wife, the 19-year-old Marva Jean Brooks whom he nicknamed "Sunshine". In 1977 Johnny Winter convinced his label, Blue Sky, to sign Muddy, the beginning of a fruitful partnership. His "comeback" LP, Hard Again, was recorded in just two days and was a return to the original Chicago sound he had created 25 years earlier, thanks to Winter's production. Former sideman James Cotton contributed harmonica on the Grammy Award-winning album and a brief but well-received tour followed. His influence is tremendous, over a variety of music genres: blues, rhythm and blues, rock 'n' roll, hard rock, folk, jazz, and country. He also helped Chuck Berry get his first record contract.
His 1958 tour of England marked possibly the first time amplified, modern urban blues was heard there, although on his first tour he was the only one amplified. His backing was provided by Englishman Chris Barber's trad jazz group. (One critic retreated to the toilets to write his review because he found the band so loud).
The Rolling Stones named themselves after his 1950 song "Rollin' Stone", (also known as "Catfish Blues", which Jimi Hendrix covered as well). Hendrix recalled "the first guitar player I was aware of was Muddy Waters. I first heard him as a little boy and it scared me to death". Cream covered "Rollin' and Tumblin'" on their 1966 debut album Fresh Cream, as Eric Clapton was a big fan of Muddy Waters when he was growing up, and his music influenced Clapton's music career. The song was also covered by Canned Heat at the legendary Monterey Pop Festival and later adapted by Bob Dylan on the album Modern Times. One of Led Zeppelin's biggest hits, "Whole Lotta Love", is lyrically based upon the Muddy Waters hit "You Need Love", written by Willie Dixon. On April 30, 1983 Muddy Waters died in his sleep, at his home in Westmont, Illinois; "Muddy was a master of just the right notes," John P. Hammond, told Guitar World magazine. "It was profound guitar playing, deep and simple... more country blues transposed to the electric guitar, the kind of playing that enhanced the lyrics, gave profundity to the words themselves.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Asie Payton

Asie Payton (1937 - 19 May 1997)was a blues musician who lived most of his life in Holly Ridge, Mississippi, in the Mississippi Delta. Born in Washington County, Mississippi, he sang and played the guitar, but made his living as a farmer. All we know about Asie was that he lived in a shotgun shack -- no phone, no a/c; and that whenever the fields were dry enough for tractor tires, he was working in them. When they were too wet, Asie was impossible to find. He lived in Holly Ridge almost all of his life and, like his father before him, spent Saturday nights playing in one of the two small grocery stores that qualify Holly Ridge for a name on the map-- a place, instead of just a county-road intersection. Near the end of his life he recorded one album, Worried, for the Fat Possum Records label, which was released after his death.
He appears and performs in the documentary film, You See Me Laughin': The Last of the Hill Country Bluesmen.
He died of a heart attack.
There is also a track by Payton on the Big Bad Love soundtrack.
Asie Payton's song, "I love you" from the album, "Worried" produced by Fat Possum Records, was used in the closing credits of "The Badge", 2002 film starring Billy Bob Thorton and Patricia Arquette. Several artists from Fat Possum were featured in the soundtrack. Unfortunately the soundtrack was never released.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ishman Bracey

Ishman Bracey (January 9, 1901 – February 12, 1970) was an American blues singer and guitarist from Mississippi, considered one of the most important early delta blues performers. With Tommy Johnson, he was the center of a small Jackson, Mississippi group of blues musicians in the 1920s. His name is incorrectly spelled "Ishmon" in some sources and on some records.Bracey was born in Byram, Mississippi, and started playing at local dances and parties around 1917.Bracey learned guitar from "Mississippi" Ruben Lacy, and starting in the 1910s he played local dances, juke joints, fish fries and other local events in rural Mississippi. Bracey first recorded for Victor in Memphis in February, 1928 with Charlie McCoy on second guitar, and the two returned to Memphis for a second batch of records on August 31 of that year. Ishman Bracey finished out his recording career at Paramount with a group called the New Orleans Nehi Boys featuring Kid Ernest Michall on clarinet and Charles Taylor on piano. Bracey also accompanied Taylor on four selections of his own. As in the case of his close friend Tommy Johnson, Ishman Bracey's recording output is small; only 16 titles in all, although four of them are known in alternate takes. Two additional titles, "Low Down Blues" and "Run to Me at Night," were apparently issued by Paramount, but have never been found. Original copies of Ishman Bracey's 78-rpm records are among the most valued items sought by blues collectors He also worked as a waterboy on the Illinois Central Railroad.[1] He first recorded in Memphis in 1928 for the Victor label, with Charlie McCoy on second guitar, recording two sessions in February and August that year.
At that time his style had not fully formed and his performances varied considerably, probably in his attempts to become more commercially successful. Bracey's blues "Saturday Blues" and "Left Alone Blues", used interesting variations in the usual three line verse form. Bracey was one of the few Mississippi bluesmen who sang with a nasal tone without embellishment. In "Saturday Blues" he used on of the conventional infidelity themes, but he changed the form of the verses to fit a newer melodic concept. His lyrics loosen up enough to sing about skin creams and powder advertised as being able to lighten dark skin.He recorded again in 1931 for Paramount Records with a group called the New Orleans Nehi Boys, which included guitarist Charles Taylor. Bracey's total recorded output is only 16 songs, and original copies of his 78-rpm records are among the most valued items sought by blues collectors. "Trouble Hearted Blues" and "Left Alone Blues" are his best known songs.He was an associate of Tommy Johnson, and the pair performed together in medicine shows in the 1930s. By the time he was "rediscovered" in the late 1950s, he had become a preacher and a performer of religious songs, and was uninterested in recording or discussing his time as a blues performer. However, he did help in the rediscovery of his contemporary Skip James. It is worth noting that Ishman Bracey continued to perform sacred material in local churches up until the day he died.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Little Joe Washington

Lil Joe Washington was born in Houston on March 1, 1939, to a mother, young and single, who named him Marion. He grew up in the Third Ward, home of blues giants such as Lightnin’ Hopkins. Informally adopted, he lived with relatives in a two-story structure facing the railroad tracks. The bottom floor functioned as a barbershop and tiny cafĂ©, a place where his uncle (who played violin and saxophone) often hosted jam sessions. By the age of five, Marion was bamming on the upright piano in the corner. By nine he was also blowing on a trumpet, and by fifteen he was pounding on drums in a band led by Albert Collins. It wasn’t until he started bending the strings of a guitar and imitating local phenomenon Joe Hughes that he became known generally by the moniker Little Joe.
Following a brief apprenticeship in Houston clubs, the wiry guitarist toured with Roscoe Gordon’s road band. Later, with Cecil Harvey’s group, he worked the territory from Texas to Nevada. Around the age of twenty he settled (if that’s the word for the wild lifestyle he recalls there) in El Paso, where he played the rowdy border town circuit, including a stint at the Lobby Bar in Juarez, Mexico. There he met the group The Champs, who took him to California in 1961 to record on the Donna label (the original versions of “Hard Way Four” and “The Last Tear.” In 1963 Little Joe returned to Los Angeles, where he recorded for the Federal label, ultimately releasing tracks such as “Someone Loves Me,” “I Feel All Right” and “Bossa Nova and Grits.”
In the years that immediately followed, Little Joe bounced around his old turf, from Houston to Juarez and back, performing with all manner of groups. But the bad habits he'd developed in the wide-open party atmosphere of the border bars eventually made him an all-too-willing victim of substance abuse. During the hazy couple of decades that followed, he would often find himself on the streets, owning nothing but the pawn ticket for his guitar.
By the mid-1990s he was essentially homeless: first camping out in the dilapidated structure that had once been his uncle’s barbershop, then (after it burned down in 1997) sleeping in an abandoned car that he had pushed onto the vacant lot. But he never stopped making music. In fact he claims to have found inspiration by being forced by circumstance to hear certain sounds: the constantly improvised riffs of the mockingbird, the staccato bark-and-response of dogs, the eerie howl of a chilly wind.
 He plays that high-speed, low-down, grade-A, third-ward Texas blues. He played it with the top of his head, with his teeth, with his crotch, with his foot, and then when he wasn't using those parts of his body his fingers worked up some licks that were absolutely astonishing. After he got through with his two songs, he immediately started passing his hat. The people were already worked up. They went from a mellow blues feeling to a frantic blues feeling if you know what I mean. They went from happy to delirious! Little Joe has that affect on audiences. Few people I have ever seen can cause the kind of stir that I have seen with Little Joe Washington. He is like a blues terrorist packing lyrical explosives. He just shows up and blows up. Then he's gone!
His musical taste goes from straight up guitar slim style blues to albert collins, who he loved, and joe hughes who is his brother, deep down texas third ward bottom style blues, or he could swing into some stuff by thelonius monk or miles!
You just don't know. he plays the guitar with every part of his body. and i do mean every part. to see little joe play is like going to heaven, you feel like you finally saw the real deal-Sonny James. Check Lil Joe Washington latest release - "Texas Fire Line" on Dialtone  Texas Fire Line .

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hosea Hargrove

Hosea has played his rootsy style of blues in and around Austin for more than fifty years, schooling such notables as Bill Campbell and Jimmy Vaughan along the way. Don’t look for guitar pyrotechnics at a Hosea show, just straight form the soul simplicity that is the very definition of the blues. Hosea’s rich legacy of song is something that must be experienced. One of the best of his kind and one of the last of his kind, Hosea Hargrove is the real thing. Hargrove, who grew up playing family suppers in Crafts Prairie, caught a ride to his first gig on the back of Son Chase's horse, washed dishes in Dallas, and pulled cotton in West Texas, playing acoustic country blues all the while until a fellow named Willie Thornton taught him how to plug in in Phoenix, Arizona, circa 1954. It was in 1949, at age 20, that Hosea Hargrove left Crafts Prairie for Dallas to look for work. Found some, too -- washing dishes in a local restaurant -- but he held onto the dream of playing guitar. Every night after work, he'd go home and practice, or listen to the old-time blues on the jukebox at the neighborhood saloon: Blind Lemon Jefferson, Lightnin' Hopkins, B.B. King. Hopkins was a particular favorite, says Hargrove, "'cause he played it low." There were times, too, that he'd pick up some country & western on the radio, and though he never played the style, to this day Hargrove considers himself a Bob Wills fan.
After Dallas came West Texas, pulling cotton by day, playing guitar by night. Hargrove was one of the last of the traveling musician-pickers, once a dependable feature on the West Texas landscape. It was the early Fifties, and Hargrove played to eager fieldhands all over Texas and New Mexico. Yet it was in Phoenix, Arizona, that he played his first electric guitar, taught to him by a man named Willie Thornton.
Hargrove stuck around long enough to learn to play like his man Lightnin' and before long he was gigging around Phoenix with Thornton, playing amplified takes on the country blues he had grown up with. It was those electrified country blues -- known as "transitional blues" in some camps -- that Hargrove brought back to Central Texas in 1956, settling on Austin's Eastside, where the nightlife was jumping.Hargrove's music reflected his journey, from acoustic country roots to the electric city life, but it never took on the urban polish of a B.B. King or T-Bone Walker, who brought swingin' horns and a chart-reading sophistication to their own country blues. Instead, Hargrove stuck with the standard three-piece of Texas' early electric blues -- two guitars and drums, or alternately, guitar, bass, and drums -- playing Eastside clubs like the IL and the Victory Grill and establishing himself on the small-town Texas circuit.
In the 40 years since, he's been a fixture on the Austin blues scene, laying down his transitional sound and taking time to school a few of the younger players who have come searching for the real thing. Like Jimmie Vaughan, for instance, who looked up Hargrove when he first came to town (pre-Storm, pre-Thunderbirds), learning at Hargrove's side. The two teamed up and started playing together, traveling the circuit and surprising a few of Hargrove's regular fans.
In interviews, both Jimmie and his brother Stevie Ray acknowledged Hargrove's influence on their style. In fact, when Jimmie Vaughan first got the Fabulous Thunderbirds together, he asked Hargrove to join as a vocalist, but Hargrove declined. Eddie Stout,the owner/founder of Austin's independent blues label Dialtone Records, recently signed to Hargrove to Dialtone in 2010 and new release; "Tex Golden Nugget' electric guitar, an ancient beat up amplifier, and 80 years of experience living and playing the blues.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Blind Joe Reynolds

(1900 or 1904 - March 10, 1968), was a singer-songwriter.

Reynolds is thought to have been born in Tallulah, Louisiana in 1904, although his death certificate stated his birthplace as Arkansas in 1900. He was blinded by a shotgun blast to the face in Louisiana in the mid-late 1920s, which resulted in the physical loss of his eyes. Despite this handicap, Blind Joe became known for his distinctive bottleneck style as well as his reported accuracy with a pistol, with which it is said he could judge the position of a target by sound alone. After years of travelling and performing on street corners, Reynolds was eventually discovered in 1929 by musical talent scout H.C. Speir and is known to have entered the studio at least twice, recording four songs on each occasion.
In November 1929, Speir took Reynolds to a small studio in Grafton, Wisconsin where he recorded the songs "Cold Woman Blues", "Nehi Blues", "Ninety Nine Blues" and "Outside Woman Blues". These were recorded under the name Blind Joe Reynolds and released as two 78rpm records by Paramount Records.
In November 1930, Reynolds entered the studio once again, this time in Memphis, Tennessee. There he recorded the songs "Goose Hill Woman Blues", "Married Man Blues", "Short Dress Blues" and "Third Street Woman Blues" under the name "Blind Willie Reynolds" for Victor Records. However, only two of these songs were released, on a single 78rpm record. The recordings of "Goose Hill Woman Blues" and "Short Dress Blues" are thought to be lost forever.
The song "Outside Woman Blues" would later find fame when it was recorded by Cream for their 1967 album, Disraeli Gears. The group became aware of the song after guitarist Eric Clapton heard it featured on a blues compilation album (Origin Jazz Library OJL-8). Curiously, on their version, Cream gave the writing credit to 'Arthur Reynolds'.
Reynolds' "Ninety Nine Blues"/"Cold Woman Blues" 78rpm recording for Paramount was thought to be lost until 2000 when a copy, which had been purchased in 1976 at a flea market for one dollar.
Reynolds is known to have been polyamorous, as is apparent from a number of his recordings. He was also known to be outspoken and flamboyant, often using his music as a medium to attack society. Blind Joe Reynolds was the nom de disque of a Louisiana street singer by the name of Joe Sheppard, who devised his false recording names primarily to keep one step ahead of the law. He was blinded in the mid-'20s during an altercation with another man who shot Reynolds in the face with a shotgun. Throughout his life, Reynolds was known throughout the South not only as a singer, but for his open disrespect for police and the legal system, his contempt for conventional morality, and his pursuit of trouble. His surviving recordings are characterized by Reynolds' shrieking, high-pitched vocals; his rolling, generous, and infectiously rhythmic slide work; and his lyrics, which tend to focus on unfaithful women. Throughout his career, Reynolds travelled the country performing under various aliases as a way of evading the police, as he had served two jail sentences in his early life, as well as "escaping [his] enemies. In March 1968, Reynolds was admitted to a hospital in Monroe, Louisiana following a stroke, where he died on March 10. The cause of death was pneumonia.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears

Search for black joe lewis and the honeybearsBlack Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, formed in Austin, Texas in 2007, is a blues band influenced by Howlin' Wolf and James Brown. In March 2009, Esquire Magazine listed Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears as one of the “Ten Bands Set to Break Out at 2009's SXSW Festival. Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears are an eight-piece, garage-soul ensemble featuring groove-laden guitars, penetrating brass and a fiery frontman who exudes power and attitude.
Experiencing the raw energy of Black Joe's performances, accompanied by the Honeybears' masterful backing is the equivalent of a kick to the stomach. Their gut-shot style, draws directly from their classic soul, R&B and blues influences. Inspiration from artists such as Otis Redding and The Bar-Kays, James Brown and Lightning Hopkins are clearly present in their songs and live shows, but Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears inject a full-tilt, unabashedly brash element to this old-school style.
          While working at a pawn shop in Austin, Texas Joe Lewis first picked up the guitar. For the next few years, he performed around Austin at open mic nights and various weekly gigs with his blues trio. The Honeybears formed after Zach Ernst, a member of the University of Texas Music and Entertainment Committee, booked Lewis to open for Little Richard at the University of Texas' annual festival Forty Acres Fest. After gaining local acclaim, the band toured as openers for Spoon and Okkervil River in 2007.The band signed to Lost Highway Records in 2008. Following the signing and performances at 2008's Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits Music Festival, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears released a four song EP on January 27, 2009. Even though they are not technically Blues, They are a great innovative modern blues influenced groove/blues/r&b band that has a great future! Rev KM Williams

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lightnin' Slim

March 13, 1913 - July 27, 1974) was an American blues musician, specialising in Louisiana swamp blues.
Lightnin' Slim was born Otis V. Hicks in St. Louis, Missouri[1] moving to Baton Rouge, Louisiana at the age of thirteen. Taught guitar by his older brother Layfield, Young Otis took to the guitar early, first shown the rudiments by his father, then later by his older brother, Layfield. Given his recorded output, it's highly doubtful that either his father or brother knew how to play in any key other than E natural, as Lightnin' used the same patterns over and over on his recordings, only changing keys when he used a capo or had his guitar detuned a full step.
Slim was playing in bars in Baton Rouge by the late 1940s.
He debuted on J. D. "Jay" Miller's Feature Records label in 1954 with "Bad Luck Blues" ("If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all").The acknowledged kingpin of the Louisiana school of blues, Lightnin' Slim built his style on his grainy but expressive vocals and rudimentary guitar work, with usually nothing more than a harmonica and a drummer in support. It was down-home country blues edged two steps further into the mainstream, first by virtue of his electric guitar, and second by the sound of the local Crowley, LA musicians who backed him being bathed in simmering, pulsating tape echo. As the first great star of producer J.D. Miller's blues talent stable, Lightnin' Slim had a successful formula that scored regional hits on the Nashville-based Excello label for over a decade, with one of them, "Rooster Blues," making the national R&B charts in 1959. Combining the country ambience of a Lightnin' Hopkins with the plodding insistence of a Muddy Waters, Lightnin' Slim's music belonged uniquely to him, the perfect blues raconteur, even when he was reshaping others' material to his dark, somber style.
He also possessed one of the truly great blues voices, unadorned and unaffected, making the world-weariness of a Sonny Boy Williamson sound like the second coming of Good Time Charlie by comparison. His exhortation to "blow your harmonica, son" has become one of the great, mournful catch phrases of the blues, and even on his most rockin' numbers, there's a sense that you are listening less to an uptempo offering than a slow blues just being played faster. Lightnin' always sounded like bad luck just moved into his home approximately an hour after his mother-in-law did.
 Slim then recorded for Excello Records for twelve years, starting in the mid 1950s, often collaborating with his brother-in-law, Slim Harpo and with harmonica player Lazy Lester.
Slim took time off from the blues for a period of time and ended up working in a foundry in Pontiac, Michigan,[citation needed] which resulted in him suffering from constantly having his hands exposed to high temperatures. He was re-discovered by Fred Reif, in 1970 living in Pontiac, where he was living in a rented room at Slim Harpo's sister's house. Reif soon got him back performing again and a new recording contract with Excello, this time through Bud Howell, the present President of the company. His first gig was a reunion concert at the 1971 University of Chicago Folk Festival with Lazy Lester, whom Reif had brought from Baton Rouge in January 1971.
In the 1970s, Slim performed on tours in Europe, both in the UK and at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, where he was often accompanied by Moses "Whispering" Smith on harmonica. He last toured the UK in 1973, with the American Blues Legends package.
In July 1974, Slim died of stomach cancer in Detroit, Michigan aged 61.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Tommy McClennan

Tommy McClennan (April 8, 1908[1] - circa 1962) was a delta blues singer and guitarist. McClennan was born on a farm near Yazoo City, Mississippi and grew up in the town. He played and sang blues in a rough, energetic style.

He made a series of recordings for Bluebird Records from 1939 through 1942 and regularly played with his friend Robert Petway. He can be heard shouting in the background on Petway's 1942 recording "Boogie Woogie Woman".
McClennan made an immediate impact in 1940 with his recordings of "Shake 'Em On Down", "Bottle It Up and Go", "Whiskey Head Woman" and "New Highway No.51".
He left a powerful legacy that included "Bottle It Up and Go," "Cross Cut Saw Blues" (covered by Albert King), "Deep Blue Sea Blues" (aka "Catfish Blues"), and others whose lasting power has been evidenced through the repertoires and re-recordings of other artists."He had a different style of playing a guitar" Big Bill Broonzy remarked drily. "You just make the chords and change when you feel like changing"[
Although nothing is known of what happened to Petway, McClennan was occasionally seen in Chicago with Elmore James and Little Walter, two other artists who came from the Delta. McClennan is reported to have died from alcoholism in poverty in Chicago, Illinois, in 1962.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Robert Petway

Robert Petway was an African-American blues singer and guitarist.

Very little is known about Robert Petway. His birthplace is speculated to have been at or near J.F. Sligh Farm near Yazoo City, Mississippi, birthplace of his close friend and fellow bluesman Tommy McClennan. His birthdate is guessed at 1908, and the date and even the occurrence of his death is unknown. There is only one known picture of Petway, a publicity photo from 1941. He only recorded 16 songs, but he is said to have been an influence on many notable blues and rock musicians, including John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, and Jimi Hendrix.Like many bluesmen from the Mississippi Delta, Petway traveled around as a musician, playing at parties, roadhouses, and other venues available. Petway and McClennan often travelled and performed together. After McClennan had been in Chicago for a few years, Petway travelled north to join him and cut records, as did Georgia's Frank Edwards who met them in MS.

One of Petway's most influential songs is "Catfish Blues", which he recorded in 1941. Muddy Waters used the lyrics and style of "Catfish Blues" for his first single "Rollin' Stone", the song from which the rock group The Rolling Stones chose their band name. There is debate on whether Petway deserves any credit for the Muddy Waters song, mostly stemming from the fact that blues musicians often borrow lines and verses from each other and often use common symbols and phrases that can't be traced back to one source. There is even some speculation that Tommy McClennan wrote the version that Petway recorded. Max Haymes has written a well-researched article, "Catfish Blues (Origins of a Blues)" on the topic, available at When David "Honeyboy" Edwards, a follower of Petway, was asked if Petway wrote the song, he replied, "He just made that song up and used to play it at them old country dances. He just made it up and kept it in his head."
There is no record, official or unofficial, of Petway's death. As such, he may still be alive, though he would be roughly 100 years old. The last record of his public life is a quote from Honeyboy Edwards: "nobody I know heard what become of him!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Slim Harpo

Slim Harpo (January 11, 1924 – January 31, 1970) was an American blues musician. He was known as a master of the blues harmonica and the name "Slim Harpo" was derived from "harp," the popular nickname for the harmonica in blues circles. Born James Moore in Lobdell, Louisiana, the eldest in an orphaned family, he worked as a longshoreman and building worker during the late 1930s and early 1940s. He began performing in Baton Rouge bars under the name Harmonica Slim and later accompanied his brother-in-law, Lightnin' Slim, both live and in the studio. Named Slim Harpo by producer J.D. "Jay" Miller, he started his own recording career in 1957. His solo debut was the Grammy Hall of Fame single "I'm a King Bee" backed with "I Got Love If You Want It."  Harpo recorded under A&R man J.D. "Jay" Miller, in Crowley, Louisiana for Excello Records based in Nashville, Tennessee, and enjoyed a string of popular R&B singles, including Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee "Rainin' In My Heart" (1961) and the number one Billboard R&B hit "Baby Scratch My Back" (1966). On these recordings he was accompanied by the regular stable of Excello musicians, including Lazy Lester.
British rock bands like The Rolling Stones, The Pretty Things, The Yardbirds, Pink Floyd and Them featured versions of his songs in their early repertoires. Later, the riff from Harpo's 1966 hit "Shake Your Hips", which itself was derivative of Bo Diddley's "Bring It to Jerome," was used in the ZZ Top hit "La Grange" and the Rolling Stones covered the song on their 1972 album Exile On Main Street. Also, Th' Legendary Shack Shakers covered and released "Shake Your Hips" in 2003 on their album Cockadoodledon't.
Never a full-time musician, Harpo had his own trucking business during the 1960s.
He died following a heart attack at the age of 46, and was buried in Mulatto Bend Cemetery in Port Allen, Louisiana.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Robert Nighthawk

Robert Lee McCollum (November 30, 1909 – November 5, 1967[1]) was an American blues musician who played and recorded under the pseudonyms Robert Lee McCoy and Robert Nighthawk.
Born in Helena, Arkansas.By the time he was 15, young Robert had learned to play the harmonica from an obscure musician from Louisiana by the name of Johnny Jones. Robert soon felt confident enough playing the harp that he decided to leave home and took to the life of a busking musician. And, for the remainder of his life, he was ever on the move.
His early travels reportedly took him to Memphis, where it is reported that while still a teenager, he worked with Will Shade and the Memphis Jug Band. And, by 1930, he had apparently reached as far north as St. Louis, playing alongside pianist, Peetie Wheatstraw. This position earned the youngster the moniker Peetie's Boy.
Back home in the Delta, Robert's life took a significant turn when he met his distant cousin, Houston Stackhouse, that same year. A year younger than Robert, Stackhouse was a guitarist deeply influenced by the style of Tommy Johnson. In turn, he introduced Robert to the rudiments of playing guitar, and it wasn't very long afterwards that Robert soon surpassed Stackhouse on the instrument.
he left home at an early age to become a busking musician, and after a period wandering through southern Mississippi, settled for a time in Memphis, Tennessee where he played with local orchestras and musicians, such as the Memphis Jug Band. A particular influence during this period was Houston Stackhouse, from whom he learnt to play slide guitar, and with whom he appeared on the radio in Jackson, Mississippi.After further travels through Mississippi, he found it advisable to take his mother's name, and as Robert Lee McCoy moved to St. Louis, Missouri in the mid 1930s. Local musicians with whom he played included Henry Townsend, Big Joe Williams, and Sonny Boy Williamson. This led to two recording dates in 1937, the four musicians recording together at the Victor Records studio in Aurora, Illinois as well as recordings under his own name, including "Prowling Night-Hawk" (recorded 5 May 1937), from which he was take his later pseudonym.The electric guitar was a fairly new instrument in the late-1930s. Robert combined his new found fondness for playing slide with the amplified guitar and created an eerie sound that quickly caught the attention of several young musicians. Perhaps its greatest influence occurred when Robert returned to the Delta with this style. The haunting tone enamored a trio of players who took the electric slide to new heights and whose own fame surpassed that of Robert's. That trio was Earl Hooker, Elmore James and Muddy Waters.

These sessions led to Chicago blues careers for the other musicians, though not, however, for McCoy, who continued his rambling life, playing and recording (for Victor/Bluebird and Decca) solo and with various musicians, under various names. He also became a familiar voice on local radio stations; then Robert Lee McCoy disappeared.
Within a few years, he resurfaced as the electric slide guitarist Robert Nighthawk, and began recording for Aristocrat and Chess Records, the latter of which was also Muddy Waters' label; in 1949 and 1950, the two mens' styles were close enough that they were in competition for promotional activity; as Waters was the more marketable commodity, being more reliable and a more confident stage communicator, he received the attention. Though Nighthawk continued to perform and to record, taking up with United and States in 1951 and 1952, he failed to achieve great commercial success.
In 1963, Nighthawk was rediscovered busking in Chicago and this led to further recording sessions and club dates, and to his return to Arkansas, where he appeared on the King Biscuit Time radio programme on KFFA. As late as 1964, Nighthawk could be found playing on Chicago's, Maxwell Street. He had a stroke followed by a heart attack and died of heart failure at his home in Helena.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Houston Stackhouse

Houston Stackhouse never achieved much in the way of success, yet he was a pivotal figure on the Southern blues scene from the 1930s through the 1960s, having worked with numerous significant blues musicians during that period, mentoring more than a few. He was a familiar figure in the small country juke joints, mainly in Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee, and was highly respected among his fellow musicians. He also achieved a measure of regional fame as a member of the King Biscuit Boys who played on station KFFA out of Helena, present-day Helena-West Helena (Phillips County). When he finally made his first recordings in 1967, he was still a working musician, taking jobs within a 150-mile radius of his home base in Helena.

Houston Stackhouse was born Houston Goff on September 28, 1910, the son of Garfield Goff from Wesson, Mississippi. He only learned of his parentage and name at birth in the 1970s while trying to obtain a passport. He was raised on the Randall Ford Plantation by James Wade Stackhouse. As a youngster, he heard music from fiddler Lace Powell, who lived on the plantation, and two visiting uncles. His musical education began when the family moved a few miles north to Crystal Springs around 1925 and encountered the brothers Tommy, Mager, and Clarence Johnson. In addition to learning from the Johnson brothers, he was inspired by local musicians, as well as the records of Blind Lemon Jefferson, Lonnie Johnson, and Blind Blake. He launched his own career in the mid-to-late 1930s playing all over Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana and working with musicians such as the Chatmon brothers (who performed as the Mississippi Sheiks), Robert Johnson, Charlie McCoy, Walter Vinson, and others. His two most enduring partnerships from this period were with Carey “Ditty” Mason and his cousin Robert McCollum—better known as Robert Nighthawk, whom he taught how to play guitar.

In 1946, Nighthawk asked Stackhouse to join him in Helena, where Stackhouse stayed for almost twenty-five years. For a year, he was a member of Nighthawk’s band, playing throughout Arkansas and Mississippi and on KFFA radio promoting Mother’s Best Flour. After splitting with Nighthawk in 1947, he joined with drummer James “Peck” Curtis, who was working on KFFA’s King Biscuit Time alongside guitarist Joe Willie Wilkins and pianists Robert Traylor and Pinetop Perkins. In 1948, Sonny Boy Williamson rejoined the show, and the group performed all over the Delta, using radio spots to promote their appearances. Stackhouse played with all the important musicians who passed through Helena, including Jimmy Rogers, and Sammy Lawhorn, both of whom he tutored on guitar, as well as Elmore James, Earl Hooker, Willie Love, Ernest Lane, and Roosevelt Sykes. While he was an active blues musician at night, he worked days at the Chrysler plant in West Memphis (Crittenden County) between 1948 and 1954.

Unlike many of his fellow bluesmen, Stackhouse remained in the South, continuing to perform locally as well as working regular jobs through the 1950s. He continued to play with notable musicians through the 1960s, including Boyd Gilmore, Houston Boines, Frank Frost, and Baby Face Turner. In 1965, Sonny Boy Williamson returned to Helena and enlisted Stackhouse to join him once again on King Biscuit Time. That May, the group was recorded live by Chris Strachwitz of Arhoolie Records, a recording subsequently released under Williamson’s name as King Biscuit Time. Williamson died shortly after that recording, and Stackhouse continued briefly on the program with former partner Robert Nighthawk.

In 1967, field researcher George Mitchell recorded Stackhouse in Dundee, Mississippi. The group, calling themselves the Blues Rhythm Boys, consisted of “Peck” Curtis and Nighthawk. These were the final recordings of Nighthawk, who died a few months later. A week later, field researcher David Evans recorded Stackhouse in Crystal Springs with longtime partner Carey “Ditty” Mason. With the death of Mason in 1969 and Curtis the following year, Stackhouse moved to Memphis in 1970, where he lived with Joe Willie Wilkins and Wilkins’s wife, Carrie. He began taking part in the blues revival, touring with Wilkins throughout the decade as the King Biscuit Boys, traveling with the Memphis Blues Caravan, playing various festivals, and making a lone trip overseas to Vienna, Austria, in 1976. He recorded for Adelphi in 1972, with various live tracks appearing on compilations. Outside of playing the first two Delta Blues Festivals in Greenville, Mississippi, he largely retired from music after his European tour and moved to Crystal Springs.

Stackhouse returned to Helena, where he died on September 23, 1980, at the Helena Hospital, having outlived most of his peers. A son, Houston Stackhouse Jr., survived him.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm: The Juke Joint Duo

If, indeed, the South will rise again, let it be musically and in the spirit of this biracial Ol’ Miss blues duo (born and raised in Mississippi and Missouri, respectively). Now based inf Mississippi, the Juke Joint Duo consists of drummer/vocalist Cedric Burnside, grandson of the late, great R.L Burnside, and guitarist Lightnin’ Malcolm. On their accurately titled album 2 Man Wrecking Crew (Delta Groove), it’s clear what makes this band so magnificent: They’ve managed to take traditional blues genres (hill-country, blue-moon, juke-joint, gut-bucket) and make it funky and refreshing without taking anything away from the music’s gritty roots. Audiences lucky enough to witness the band live will get a taste of the rhythmic and powerful sounds of classic Southern blues, then get hit with a punch of funk, a kick of hip-hop, and a whole lotta soul. The sound comes together perfectly, served in a grooving gumbo that hits you like a Mack truck. Lightnin’ and Burnside will be playing at the Lafayette Tap Room on Wednesday (Feb. 10). —jeremy lee

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Robert Cage

Robert Cage was born in New Orleans on April 4th 1937. A year later, his family moved to Natchez and from there to Woodville, Mississippi, a small woodsy town forgotten by time (evenby Mississippi standards). Robert's father owned a grocery store and it was there, on the porch, where Robert heard Scott Dunbar play and sing, as well as another performer named Pig. Robert's first guitar was a gift from his mother; it was new, from Sears and Roebuck, and had pictures of red cowboys on a white body. When Robert heard the electric sounds of John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, and Howlin' Wolf, he lost interest in Scott Dunbar's pre-war style. Robert wanted to catch up to the rest of America.
In 1958 Robert was in the house band at the State Line Club (Mississippi and Louisiana) and stayed loyal until it burned down, giving him little choice but to sign on at the Black Cat Club. In hope of earning more money, Robert went modern; he tightened up the same band, named them the Impalas, hired a saxophonist and added Sam Cooke and Chuck Berry numbers to their set lists. But the Impalas just weren't meant to be-- no matter what they added to their routine, or how many long, hard tours they made through Mississippi and Louisiana. Robert Cage weighed almost 200 pounds when he started the Impalas and at quitting time weighed in at less than 100. Thank you very much, whiskey.
In 1970 Robert married Minnie and began full-time work as a diesel mechanic. Robert continued gigging at local parties with an occasional club date. It was the constant hassle of finding good bands that turned Robert into a solo performer and back to the style he first learned, Scott Dunbar's style, the way he plays today. Robert, became a Fat Possum Records Artist in the late nineties, along with T-Model Ford,Paul Wine Jones and Cedell Davis.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Rev. KM Williams - I'm An Old Soul

Born 1956, in Clarksville,Texas. Raised in Red River county, Texas, deep in the country of
northeast Texas. Early musical influences included the Memphis/Stax recording artists such
as Albert King, Wilson Pickett,Slim Harpo and Sam & Dave heard late at night on WLAC,Nashville,Tenn. A
guitar lesson with a travelin bluesman (believed to be ELMORE JAMES) passing thru DeKalb,
Texas(old stompin' grounds of LEADBELLY) at age 7 hooked him into the blues. Received first guitar at age 8, but wasn't very good at it. After finishing high school, joined
the U. S. Navy in 1975 & enlisted in the submarine service. After receiving christian conversion in 1980, suddenly received ability to play & compose blues & spirituals on guitar & harmonica (my father's instrument). Relocated to Cleveland, Ohio after leaving
the U. S. Navy in 1981 & begin performing part time for local gospel choirs, quartets & groups. Also played solo blues & gospel gigs. Became a ordained minister in the Holiness Church in 1995. Formed a Delta blues band, K. M. Williams & the Blues Train, in 1997. Gigs
included opening for ROBERT JR.LOCKWOOD,LITTLE MILTON,THE HOLMES BROTHERS & THE FIVE BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA. Released one local cassette "Rollin'&Tumblin".
Relocated back to Texas (Dallas) in 1999.Begin performing solo blues gigs around Deep Ellum, Lower Greenville, Irving,& Arlington.Currently have released twenty-one internationally acclaimed CD's including 17 solo CD's starting with "THE REVEREND OF TEXAS COUNTRY BLUES(2000)";"TEXAS COUNTRY BLUES PREACHER(2001)";"SANCTIFED BOOGIE(2001)";"THE RETURN OF BROTHER LEMON(2002)(with Washboard Jackson on Percussion)",A dedication to BLIND WILLIE JOHNSON entitled"BLIND WILLIE'S HYMNS(2002)""I'M AN OLD SOUL(2003),"THE MINISTER OF TEXAS BOOGIE(2004)","COUNTRY ROADS,STREET CORNERS & CHURCH HOUSES"(2004),his first Label produced CD "THE BEST OF THE TEXAS COUNTRY BLUES PREACHER"(DWM MUSIC COMPANY - 2005),"TRUTH MUSIC"(2005),"THE RESURRECTION of BLIND WILLIE and OLD TIME SPIRITUALS"(2006),"HERE COMES THE PREACHER MAN"(2006),"LIVE WRECKAGE AND CLASSICS"(2007)(w Washboard Jackson),"THE LOST TAPES OF JUKES AND SPIRITUALS"(2007),"OLD SOUL/MINISTER OF TEXAS BOOGIE-REMASTERED,Snocap downloads only(2007)","LIVE AT THE LONGHORN BBQ"(2007)MORE WRECKAGE and CRIES FROM THE SOUL(2008).Also Formed a Rockin' Boogie/Blues duo with Texas Washboard Player and Percussionist WASHBOARD JACKSON called "TRAINRECK" and have since released four critically acclaimed CD's"THERE'S A TRAINRECK COMIN'(2003),"THE TRAIN KEEPS A'ROLLIN'(2004),"LIVE AT THE SCENE"(2005) and "11:59"(2006).Also have opened for or played on the same bill as KIM WILSON,WC CLARK,GARY CLARK JR.,ANDREW "JUNIOR BOY" JONES,ALVIN "YOUNGBLOOD" HART,ROBERT BELFOUR,RICHARD JOHNSTON,CEDELL DAVIS,DAVID "HONEYBOY" EDWARDS,JAMES MATHUS,and THE LEGENDARY MAVIS STAPLES. Two Documentaries was filmed on KM Williams & Trainreck;the first entitled"SANCTIFIED BOOGIE"(2004)based on the life of KM Williams which is currently available from Level Ground Films Productions & "A NITE IN A TRAINRECK"(2005)based on a typical night of performances following TRAINRECK(KM Williams & Washboard Jackson).Also released Music DVD'S entitled "KM WILLIAMS ;"LIVE AT THE LONGHORN BBQ"(DVD/2005)","LIVE IN ITALY(DVD/CD/2005) & "KM WILLIAMS & FRIENDS,LIVE IN SWITZERLAND"(2006)which are live performances.. As of the present,continues to Preach(started the SOUND GOSPEL BIBLE MINISTRIES in 2002),Sing & Play the Gospel and The Texas Country Blues/Boogie to anyone willing to listen, anywhere and anytime! Signed to Dialtone Records in Austin, TX on May 17th,2010.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Elmo Williams & Hezekiah Early

Both Elmo Williams and Hezekiah Early are from Natchez, Mississippi. Hezekiah, formerly of Hezekiah and the House Rockers, is still the only man going who can simultaneously beat drums and blow through harmonica with the aid of electrician’s tape and a mike stand. Hezekiah has no competition - that must be nice.
Elmo, armed with a Yamaha guitar and a full Fender Band Master stack, does everything else. For Elmo, learning riffs has always come easy, as having respect for others, their beliefs, values, and personal property has always been difficult. The harder he tries to respect others, the harder it gets. Things would be a lot easier if he’s just give up. When not in church praying or playing guitar, Elmo mostly enjoys staying out of trouble.
Hezekiah loves busting big ol’ deer damn straight dead with his rifle both in, and out, of season. If he’s really bored he might eat some of it. He also enjoys driving his Thunderbird with the accelerator stomped all the way down. It makes him feel good about himself, grinding that floppy accelerator past where it should stop and into the carpet. This style of driving is Hezekiah’s way of giving something back to America, his own personal way of standing up for the rights of All-American men.
Don’t think for a second that these acts don’t go unnoticed. Ask anyone in Natchez - Hezekiah Early has a humdinger of a reputation.
- Matthew Johnson

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Boo Boo Davis

Boo Boo Davis is a survivor and belongs to the last generations of musicians that write and play the blues based on first hand experience of a hard life in the Mississippi Delta.He was born on November 4, 1943 in Drew, Mississippi. He started playing drums with his family band when he was seven years old. At that time he didn't have a drum kit so he used a lard can instead. This band, called the Lard Can Band, featured his father Sylvester sr. on vocals, his brother Sylvester jr. on bass, his younger brother John on guitar and his sister Clara also on vocals. His brother Sylvester jr is also known as S. L. Davis. This band played in Mississippi cities as Minnow City and Rulevine and during this time they also backed up young B.B. King who was at that time completely unknown outside Mississippi.

 . It was the richest cotton land in the South and the large amounts of field workers attracted the best musicians from the surrounding areas. The entire Delta region was rich with blues, but the town of Drew was a particularly fertile one. Charley Patton stayed near Drew for many years and several legendary performers spent time there. Sharecroppers sang loudly to help pass the grueling hours of work and without a doubt Boo Boo developed his loud, bellowing voice based on the singing he heard in the fields as a young boy. In fact, that voice, through the years has demolished many amps and speaker cabinets.
Boo Boo's father, Sylvester Davis farmed cotton and played several instruments. Musicians who he played with include John Lee Hooker, Elmore James and Robert Pete Williams. Boo Boo remembers these and other musicians dropping by and rehearsing at their house. At the age of five Boo Boo was playing the harmonica and singing in church with his mother. By thirteen he was playing guitar, and by eighteen he was playing out with his father and older brothers under the name of The Lard Can Band. This band travelled all throughout the Delta. In the early sixties he went north to St Louis and was around during the heyday of the St Louis music scene (Albert King, Ike Turner, Chuck Berry and many others). Together with his brothers they were the weekend house band in Tabby's Red Room in East St Louis for eighteen years.
Even though Boo Boo moved north to St. Louis, he will always be a southerner at heart. When he is at home (and not performing) his favorite pastimes are hunting with his dogs and fishing. During Boo Boo's childhood there was no time or money for him to go to school so he never learned to read and write. However that did not prevent him to travel all over the world. Following his guiding spirit (that he calls Dave) Boo Boo has found a way to deal with modern society. The blues helps him to keep his spirit high and survive day-to-day life. It deals with all the basic raw elements of life; good and bad, plain and simple.
His first European tour took place in April 2000 and since then Boo Boo is touring Europe at least twice a year. So far Boo Boo has released 5 CD's on Black and Tan Records and all of them were very well received. Number 4 (DREW, MISSISSIPPI) was listed with the 10 best blues records of 2006 by MOJO Magazine (UK). In 2007 Boo Boo was invited to perform on the POCONO BLUES FESTIVAL, one of the biggest blues festivals in the USA and in March 2007 Boo Boo performed live on CBC Radio One, national radio in Canada. What started as a crazy idea after the European tour of Boo Boo in October 2007 has turned out to be not too crazy at all. On the Spring Tour of 2008 they decided to leave out the bass and tour as a trio (Boo Boo + drums & guitar). In June 2008 they went into the studio and the CD (NAME OF THE GAME) was released in September 2008.
In the summer of 2009 the trio played a string of big blues & jazz festivals all over Europe. During those long travels they got a lot of ideas for new songs. So in the middle of the tour they went into the studio for two days and recorded a new record (AIN'T GOTTA DIME). All songs were played live in the studio without any overdubs and for most songs the first take turned out to be the best one. This is exactly how they sound live. Unlike many modern blues bands, Boo Boo and his band focus on the groove, the feel, and the basic truths found in the blues. Blues doesn't come any 'realer' than this.