During the late 50s and early 60s, college campuses and downtown coffee shops often rang to the sound of Folk music. One branch of country music that young people found exciting was Delta Blues, and when they realised many of these guys must still be alive, many took up the quest to locate these ‘living links’ to the origins of the Blues. Dick Waterman was a major player in the Folk/Blues revival, ‘discovering’ some originators of this fertile musical form, and setting up a management company to look after their interests so they got paid properly for their recordings and concerts. Fortunately, Dick also kept written and photographic records of the times, which give us an insight into the days when you could see legendary Blues stars in tiny venues.
Avalon Productions was set up by Dick to represent Blues artists, and they managed the careers of Son, Skip James, Mississippi John Hurt and Lightnin’ Hopkins among others. He also managed rising stars like Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, JB Hutto and the young Bonnie Raitt. Dick was angered by the financial treatment of old Blues players, and he helped Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup recover some of the royalties he was cheated out of when Elvis sold ship-loads of records covering his songs. Concerns for his older clients began to occupy more of Dick’s time and, in 1993, he collaborated with Bonnie and The Mt. Zion Foundation to raise a headstone for Mississippi Fred McDowell.