Life is too short for boring music

Posts Tagged ‘New York’

COUSIN LEROY

Cousin Leroy was a singer, harp player and guitarist from rural Georgia whose R&B records in the late 50s put the emphasis squarely on the Blues half of the equation. He was part of the Post-WWII club scene in New York, and his regular associates included Champion Jack Dupree and Larry Dale, who graced all…

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PETE SEEGER

Pete Seeger was part of a politicised, multi-cultural music community in New York after WWII, that played a important rôle in the popular fight against injustice, not just in America, but all over the world. His live and recorded performances, his songwriting and his political activism made him famous and his collaborations with other musicians,…

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STICK McGHEE

‘Stick’ McGhee is not so well known as his brother Brownie, but he wrote some great boozy Blues songs, and one of them, ‘Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee’, has become a classic, covered many times down the years, including versions by Jerry Lee Lewis, Wynonie Harris, Larry Dale and Mike Bloomfield’s Electric Flag. Granville McGhee was born…

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BUSTER BROWN

This Georgia-born singer and harp player had a wild, animated style with whoops and shrieks borrowed from Sonny Terry. Someone said he played harp like he was falling off a cliff! Buster was well into his forties when Fire Records brought him to New York to record ‘Fanny Mae’ in 1960. It was a big…

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GLADYS BENTLEY

A ‘Drag King’ who sings the Blues is a rare item! Gladys Bentley was a male impersonator who sang and played piano on the New York gay club scene in the late 20s in places like The Clam House and The Ubangi Club. She was a big woman who wore a tuxedo and top hat…

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BIG CHIEF ELLIS

Self-taught pianist Wilbert Ellis played his Blues around Birmingham AL before he was drafted in 1939. He showed up on the Blues scene in New York after WWII, where he played the clubs with many Blues players as they passed through town. ‘Big Chief’ recorded with Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee for Capitol but seems…

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DINAH WASHINGTON

Dinah Washington was probably the most popular R&B singer of the 50s. Raised in gospel; gifted with an immaculate sense of blues phrasing; equally at home in jazz, blues, R&B and pop, Dinah’s clear yet passionate delivery made her one of the biggest stars of the day and earned her the title ‘Queen of the…

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LUCKY PETERSON

When he was six years old, Lucky had an R&B hit with ‘1-2-3-4’, produced by Willie Dixon. As a child prodigy, Judge Kenneth Peterson was all over the TV shows, but he went on to prove that record was not a one-off. A competent keyboard player by the age of three, Lucky grew up in…

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MOSE ALLISON

Pianist and singer/songwriter Mose Allison has suffered throughout his career from being hard to categorise. Mose has a laid-back, smoky vocal tone well suited to both jazz and Blues. He can play boogie-woogie and slow drag-out blues, but he recorded a lot of wild bebop in jazz trio form. He wrote some great songs of…

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SAMMY PRICE

Texan Sammy was a versatile pianist whose long career encompassed Blues and boogie-woogie and took in swing and jump-blues. Starting in Dallas as a singer and dancer in Alphonso Trent’s Orchestra, Sammy recorded his song ‘Blue Rhythm Stomp’ in 1929. He formed the Texas Bluesicians based in Kansas, moving the band on to Detroit and…

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