Cecil Gant had a massive hit in 1944 with ‘I Wonder’, which went to No.1 in the Billboard R&B charts and made No.20 in the Hot 100. A hard rocking boogie-woogie pianist with a voice that worked well with a Blues ballad, Cecil had his big hit while he was in the Army and his…

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Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson was a flamboyant Blues guitarist with a distinctive style, who was a major influence on West Coast Blues and beyond. Always a showman, Johnny moved seamlessly from early jump-blues to 60s Blues-rock, soul, funk and even rap, and his work is often sampled in hip-hop tunes. What was constant in this ever-changing…

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David Ramos was given a guitar and amp when he was eight years old by his opera singing parents, which they bought from a passing customer at their gas station! The Kid made a lot of noise and played around teenage parties until he got more serious and joined James Harman’s band in 1980. After…

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Pianist and singer Amos Milburn was one of the biggest R&B stars of the post WWII years. His signature tune ‘Chicken Shack Boogie’ went to No.1 in the R&B charts and he repeated the achievement three more times. He had a string of up-tempo hits with drinking songs like ‘One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer’,…

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Connie Crayton was a Texas guitarist who made an impact when he moved to LA and was a mainstay of the Bay Area Blues scene for decades when he settled a little further north. Pee-Wee’s style owed much to T-Bone Walker and Charlie Christian, two friends who were active on the Houston scene when Pee-Wee…

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Born in Waco Texas, Mercy Dee took the Sunset Route to play his piano in California just before WWII. His first disc was ‘Lonesome cabin Blues’ for the Spire label, but he soon had a national hit for Specialty with his song ‘One Room Country Shack’, later made even more famous by Mose Allison. Equally…

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Bonnie Raitt embodies how far Blues music has come in a century. She is the opposite of a poor black man, yet her sensitive and soulful slide-playing speaks of bone-hard times and her warm, subtle approach to a vocal line shows the profound empathy that Blues music awakens in the human heart. In 1949, Bonnie…

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Lowell Fulson was a pioneer of West Coast Blues, a laid-back singer who wrote many classic songs and played his smoking guitar lines for a worldwide audience for half a century. He adapted his music for the times, playing hard Blues, Funky Soul and driving R&B, but never compromised his fluid yet penetrating style. Born…

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Ivory Joe Hunter (his full given name) was playing piano and developing his velvet voice around Beaumont Texas when he was recorded as a teenager for the Library of Congress in 1933. When he moved to Oakland CA. in 1942, he set up his own Ivory Records and his ‘Blues at Sunrise’ was a national…

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George was always a showman, and there are stories of him tap-dancing along the bar while playing his harp! As well as blowing his sparse, soulful solo lines he also exploited an ‘octave’ technique to expand the possibilities of the Blues harp, making it like sound like the horn parts in a swing band and…

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