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Archive for the ‘Blues’ Category

RIP, Dutch Tilders (April 23, 2011) Dutch Australian Blues Musician

Posted by on April 23, 2011

Matthew “Dutch” Tilders
August 29, 1941 – April 23, 2011

Dutch Tilders was a blues musician born in the Netherlands but who who moved to Australia with his family while still in his teens.   Tilders was playing the harmonica by the time he landed his first gig at the age of 15, but soon switched to the guitar.  He went on to release several albums while performing with the likes of Taj Mahal, John Mayall, Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry.  Back home in Australia, he was dubbed the “Godfather of Blues,” and even the great B.B. King  once proclaimed that regardless of his European birth, Tilders was a genuine bluesman.  He continued to tour as recently as late 2010 despite the fact that he was diagnosed with lung cancer in May of that same year.  Dutch Childers officially retired in February of 2011 and passed away from the cancer on April 23, 2011.  He was 69.

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RIP, Lacy Gibson (April 11, 2011) Chicago Blues Man

Posted by on April 11, 2011

Lacy Gibson
May 1, 1936 – April 11, 2011

Lacy Gibson was a gifted Chicago blues guitarist who over a career that spanned six decades came to be known as a musician’s musician thanks in part to his flashy jazz-influenced guitar skills.  He was also revered for his soulful voice. After moving to Chicago from North Carolina in 1949, Gibson immediately immersed himself in the city’s storied blues scene, learning directly from the likes of Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon.  During the ’60s, he became a popular session player for the local labels, including Chess, where he actually sang on at least one recording by Buddy Guy.  Over the course of his career, Gibson recorded or performed with the likes of Sun Ra (his brother-in-law), Jimmy Reed, Son Seals, and Otis Rush.  He released three of his own albums between 1971 and 1996, and continued to be a mainstay on local stages until his ill health kept him away in recent years.  Lacy Gibson died of a heart attack on April 11, 2011.  He was 74.

Thanks to Joel Oberstein at New Releases Now! for the help

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RIP, Pinetop Perkins (March 21, 2011) Blues Icon

Posted by on March 21, 2011

Joseph “Pinetop” Perkins
July 7, 1913 – March 21, 2011

Pinetop Perkins was a Delta blues pianist and singer whose remarkable career spanned from the 1920s until his passing in 2011.  At 97, he was one of the last surviving original Delta bluesmen who were still playing and releasing records.  In March of 2011, he became the oldest person to ever win a Grammy.  It was for Joined At The Hip that he recorded with Willie “Big Eyes” Smith.  Perkins began his career as a guitarist, but was forced to switch to piano after he injured the tendons in one of his arms.   By the 1950s, he was touring with Earl Hooker. He also made his first record, “Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie,” at Sam Phillips’ legendary Sun Studios in Memphis.  Perkins moved to Chicago in 1968 and within a year, he was hired by Muddy Waters to replace Otis Spann in his band.   Perkins played with Waters for more than a decade.  It wasn’t until 1988 – and countless vinyl appearances as a sideman – that Perkins finally released his first album, After Hours.   He went on to record several more over the next three decades.  In 2004, while driving in La Porte, Indiana, 94-year-old Perkins was struck by a train – yes a TRAIN – and although his car was demolished, he walked away with minor injuries.  Perkins continued to perform a couple shows nearly every week in Austin where he had eventually settled.  Pinetop Perkins passed away on March 21, 2011.

Thanks to Stephen Brower for the help

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RIP, Herman Ernest (March 6, 2011) Drummer For Dr. John

Posted by on March 6, 2011

Herman Ernest
DOB Unknown – March 6, 2011

Herman Ernest was a respected New Orleans drummer who, over the course of his career appeared on countless records including those with the likes of Kermit Ruffins, Shemekia Copeland, Jeremy Davenport, and Dr. John.   Ernest, who was also known as “Roscoe” to friends and fans, called his hard-hitting style of drumming, “diesel funk.”  He spent many years playing with Dr. John – appearing an numerous albums over the past two decades as well as on stage as part of his Lower 911 Band.    His last appearance with him was on December 30, 2010.    Herman Ernest died on March 6, 2011 following a long battle with cancer.  He was 59.


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RIP, Eddie Kirkland (February 27, 2011) American Blues Great

Posted by on February 27, 2011

Eddie Kirkland
August 16, 1923 – February 27, 2011

Eddie Kirkland was a Jamaican born, American raised blues singer and musician who, thanks to his nearly non-stop touring life was dubbed “The Gypsy Of The Blues.”  Kirkland was still a young teen when he ran away from home hidden in the truck of a traveling medicine show.  When the show ultimately packed it in, he went back to school and then joined the army.  Following his discharge after WWII, he moved to Detroit and met up with John Lee Hooker.  He went on to work with Hooker, often providing the second guitar on his records and serving as an occasional road manager.  He left to pursue a solo career in 1962.  Throughout the years, Kirkland also performed with the likes of Otis Redding, Muddy Waters and Foghat, and  made several records for such labels as King, Volt and Fortune Records.  He continued to record and tour well in to the 2000s.   On February 27, 2011, Eddie Kirkland was killed when the car which he was driving on a Florida highway was reportedly struck by a bus.  He was 87.


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RIP, Robin Rogers (December 17, 2010) Contemporary Blues Singer

Posted by on December 17, 2010

Robin Rogers
DOB Unknown – December 17, 2010

Robin Rogers was a contemporary blues singer who built herself a sizable following throughout southeastern United States and beyond.  Most recently living in Charlotte, North Carolina, Rogers ran away from home in her early teens and eventually found her voice as a singer while on the road.  By the early ’80s, Rogers was living in South Florida where she first recorded for Sal Sol.  In more recent years, she cut albums for 95 North and Blind Pig Records.  Robin Rogers passed away on December 17, 2010 after battling liver cancer.

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RIP, Albert “Little Smokey” Smothers (November 20, 2010) Chicago Bluesman

Posted by on November 20, 2010

Albert “Little Smokey” Smothers
January 2, 1939 – November 20, 2010

Little Smokey Smothers was a popular Chicago-area blues singer and guitarist.   Smothers was playing the guitar by the time he turned 15, and within two years, he had moved from his home in Mississippi to Chicago to make his mark.  In those early years, he played with the likes of Magic Sam, Otis Rush and Howlin’ Wolf, for whom he played on his Chess recordings.   During the early ’60s, Smothers met Paul Butterfield and soon helped him form the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.  He played with most of the blues greats during the ’60s, but his career all but dried up by the ’70s so he left the business to work construction.  His music career enjoyed a renaissance during the ’90s – he spent the next several years performing at popular blues festivals and recording albums.  After his health began to deteriorated during the mid-2000s due to diabetes, old friends and collaborators like Elvin Bishop stepped in to help with fund raisers, etc.  On November 20, 2010, Little Smokey Smothers died of natural causes.  He was 71.

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RIP, Solomon Burke (October 10, 2010) Pioneering Soul, Blues & Gospel Singer

Posted by on October 10, 2010

Solomon Burke
March 21, 1940 – October 10, 2010

Solomon Burke was a beloved and influential singer-songwriter who built a sizable following due to his powerful gospel, soul, and blues voice.  Burke ‘s first adult profession was a preacher, and went on to become a popular gospel radio host and then a singer.  Signed to the prestigious Atlantic Records in 1960, went on to release several critically acclaimed secular records, his most famous perhaps was “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love,” which was covered by the likes of the Rolling Stones, Jerry Garcia, Wilson Pickett, and the Blues Brothers (John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd).  During the 2000s, Burke made a comeback of sorts.  He was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, and won a Grammy in 2003 for his Fat Possum release, Don’t Give Up On Me Baby album.  He was also playing in front of his biggest crowds at concerts and festivals around the world, as well as worldwide audiences on television.  Between 2005 and 2008, Burke released a trilogy of albums for Shout! Factory, Make Due With What You Got, Nashville, and Like A Fire – all are essential listening.  On October 10, 2010, Solomon Burke died unexpectedly at an Amesterdam airport where he had just landed en route to a performance.  Cause of death was not immediately released, but it is believed to have been of natural causes.  He was 70.

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RIP, Foster Wiley aka Mr. Tater (September 10, 2010) Clarksdale, MS Street Musician

Posted by on September 10, 2010

Foster “Mr. Tater” Wiley
DOB Unknown – September 10,2010

Photo by Tim Burge

Affectionately known as Mr. Tater, Foster Wiley was a beloved street musician in the legendary blues city of Clarksdale, Mississippi.  Besides entertaining blues fans and tourists throughout the city, Wiley was a familiar face at local clubs and blues festivals.  He reportedly never sang the same song twice.  As one of the last remaining original Delta blues musicians, Wiley has been featured in such documentaries as M is for Mississippi, and news outlets like CNN, BBC, The New York Times, and NPR.   He also released numerous albums over the course of his career.  In ailing health in recent weeks, Foster Wiley passed away on September 10, 2010.  He is believed to have been 63.

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On This Date (September 1, 2005) R.L. Burnside

Posted by on September 1, 2010

Robert “R.L.” Burnside
November 23, 1926 – September 1, 2005


Photo by Jim "Boogie" Wells

R.L. Burnside was a Mississippi back country blues musician who remained in relative obscurity until he was championed by alternative blues rocker, Jon Spencer in the mid ’90s.   Born in Mississippi, Burnside spent his early adult life as a sharecropper and fisherman, playing at parties on the weekends.   After a stint living in Chicago, Burside moved back to Mississippi and was soon convicted of murder for shooting a man in the head.  He was sentenced to six months at the notorious Parchman prison.  Upon release, Burnside began making records for roots label, Arhoolie.  During the ’90s, Burnside began recording for Fat Possum Records, a label that specialized in “rediscovering” aging and relative obscure blues artists from the southern region.  He then hooked up with Spencer to record and tour, exposing him to a whole new generation of underground “punk blues” fans.  Burnside had heart surgery in 1999 and a heart attack in 2001.  He passed away at the age of 78 in a Memphis hospital.

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