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Jimmy LaFave 5/2017

Jimmy LaFave - Red Dirt Music

May 21, 2017 – Jimmy LaFave was born July 12, 1955 in Willis Point, Texas where he was also raised. Music was his destiny from very early on, but he started his journey on drums.

Some years later he moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma and played in the school band but at age 15 LaFave switched to guitar and began writing and singing his own songs in a band called The Night Tribe.

After graduating from high school LaFave played music at night while working during the day. He had a job as the manager of a music club called Up Your Alley and during this period recorded the albums Down Under in 1979 and Broken Line in 1981. Continue reading Jimmy LaFave 5/2017

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Paul O’Neill 4/2017

Paul o'Neill, the man behind the TSOApril 5, 2017 – Paul O’Neill (Trans Siberian Orchestra) was born in Flushing, Queens, New York City on February 23,  1956.

The second born child in a household with ten children he was raised in a home filled with art and literature. “Back then, in the 60s, it was OK to be smart and artistic,” he said. “I loved books. I loved music. I loved Broadway — and I had it right down the street, y’know? It really was a special, magical time.” He learned to play guitar and became a rock fan and began playing guitar with a number of rock bands in high school and quickly graduated to folk guitar gigs at downtown clubs. Continue reading Paul O’Neill 4/2017

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Bob Casale Jr 2/2014

Bob CasaleFeb 17, 2014 – Bob Casale Jr. aka Bob 2 -(Devo) was born Robert Edward Pizzute, Jr on July 14, 1952 in Kent, Ohio. His birth name was Pizzute because his father had legally changed his name from Robert Edward Casale to that of his foster parents.

He originally trained as a medical radiation technologist, but was recruited by his brother Gerald Casale to join his band, the new wave band Devo. In Devo concerts, Bob played lead-rhythm guitar and keyboards while working with MIDI sampling. He also sang backup vocals both on album and at live shows.

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Nic Potter 1/ 2013

Nic Potter (1)January 16, 2013 – Nic Potter was born on 18 October 1951 in Swindon, England.

He left school at 15, originally to train in carpentry. At 16, he joined a late lineup of The Misunderstood however and recorded on their 1969 LP Golden Glass.  At the same time as drummer Guy Evans, he joined Van Der Graaf Generator, when they were on a brief hiatus.

When Van der Graaf decided to reform after the release The Aerosol Grey Machine. When earlier bassist Keith Ellis decided to join Juicy Lucy, Evans recommended that Potter join as his replacement.

He first appeared on the album “The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other”, also playing some electric guitar on a few tracks in addition to his usual bass. He left the band in 1970 during the recording of their next album, ‘H to He, Who Am The Only One’, on which he recorded 3 tracks.

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Huw
Lloyd Langton
12/2012

Huw Lloyd Langdon6 December 2012 – Huw Lloyd-Langton was born Richard Hugh Lloyd-Langton on 6 February 1951 in Harlesden, North London.

He started playing guitar at school, self styled and talented. In the course of those formative years in rock and roll he learned to read and write music and after high school graduation he moved to Germany where he got his first professional gig with a rather popular touring band called WINSTON G, which alternated gigs between Holland and Germany. He toured with them continuously for 6 months. The bass player was Pete Becket who later played with Player and Little Feat.

Back in England in 1969 he joined Hawkwind on their debut album in 1970.  He remained with them for next 2 1/2 years recording their first 2 LP’s, which sell regularly to this day. He left them after an illness in late 1971, and although he occasionally joined them he did not return full time until 1979 when their LP ‘LIVE 79’ went straight into the top 10 UK charts.

The rest of the Seventies showed him in a variety of gigs. A 2-year acoustic stint in vegetarian London restaurant PASTURES. John Butler DIESEL PARK WEST’S singer joined him for 6 months and Eddy Klima, RATTLES singer for another year. He taught guitar at a comprehensive school in Streatham for a year and did numerous sessions, one included writing the music for a cartoon, narrated by Viv Stanshall of the BONZO DOG DOO DA BAND and 6 months with LEO SAYER touring the UK & Europe.

Several band situations including working with John Lingwood MANFRED MANN’S long standing Drummer; AMON DIN with Dave Anderson AMON DUL’S bass player; GALLERY with Rob Rawlinson on Bass from Ian Hunters OVERNIGHT ANGELS; MAGILL with Pete Scott from SAVOY BROWN and he toured Yugoslavia with ALEKZANDER JOHN (known as Alekzander Mezek) who was one of their top rock performers. Another excellent band was the Trinidadian Band BATTI MAMSELLE, whose music had a strong Latin American influence with lead singer LONDON BEAT’S Jimmy Chambers. They appeared in briefly in the film ‘Alfie Darling’ starring Alan price. The Director wanted an all black band but they refused to perform without Huw.

From 1974 to 1978 he joined WIDOMAKER touring the USA and recording 2 LPs, which charted there. Lineup included Steve Ellis- LOVE AFFAIR, Aerial Bender- MOTT THE HOOPLE, Bob Daisley-RAINBOW, Paul Nicholls LINDISFARNE and ‘John Butler ‘, again)!

In 1979 he rejoined HAWKWIND where he remained for the next 10 years. Their LP ‘LIVE 79 went straight in the top 10 UK charts. Everything Hawkwind did between 1979 and 1985 was either in the pop, heavy metal or independent charts. In 1982 Huw formed LLOYD LANGTON GROUP (LLG) to gig between HAWKWIND quiet periods. LLG has 2 singles and 2 LPs in Heavy Metal charts during 80s. During this period he had his own column in GUITARIST magazine for 6 months titled ‘Langton’s Lead Lines’.

Between 1989 and the end of the 90s Huw joined the PRETTY THINGS on one European tour. Toured Italy in ’93 with DR BROWN who had 2 independent hits there. Toured the UK several times with LLG. In the spring of ’95 he toured Sweden with Ray Majors, MOTT THE HOOPLES last guitarist.

September 2000 Huw rejoined Hawkwind for ‘Hawkestra Re-Union’ gig at Brixton Academy. This sell-out show featured 21 past members, including Lemmy. However, the main nucleus on stage throughout was Dave Brock, Alan Davey, Richard chadwick and Huw Lloyd-Langton.

Huw officially rejoined Hawkwind in 2001. They played their first major Tour in the UK since 1977 playing 18-dates nation-wide in November 2001. They kicked-off at London’s Royal Festival Hall on 10th October. Huw contracted ‘Legionnaires Disease’ on this tour and was hospitalized. This left him extremely fragile. Hawkwind toured UK again December 2002 but Huw was unable to complete the last two dates as he suffered ill health on and off over next few years with a variety of broken bones (mainly arms and wrists).

He continued to make guest appearances with Hawkwind and played solo support slots on tour.

In August 2009, Huw played an acoustic set at Hawkwind’s 40th anniversary concert at Porchester Hall, in London.

One of the world’s longest-running bands, Hawkwind have undergone countless changes of personnel and musical styles over the years. Former members and collaborators include Motorhead’s Lemmy, science fiction writer Michael Moorcock, and ex-Cream drummer Ginger Baker.

Huw’s health had been generally poor for a decade and he was quite frail, with several broken bones and minor injuries (rarely letting fans down though – he once played a gig with a broken arm, reworking his solos on the fly so that he could play them in one area of the guitar neck).

After being diagnosed with cancer in 2010 he died at his home on 6 December 2012, aged 61. His final recording with Hawkwind was a re-recording of Master of the Universe for the compilation album Spacehawks.

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Larry Hoppen 7/2012

July 24, 2012 – Larry Lewis Hoppen (Orleans) was born on January 12, 1951 in Ithaca New York. From a musical family, Larry learned to play keyboards, guitar, bass, melodica and trumpet. His mom took him on her nightclub gigs when he was 10!

After briefly trying Music Ed. at Ithaca College (1967-69), he left to pursue a career as a musical artist and never looked back. Between 1969 and 1971 his Ithaca band Boffalongo made 2 LPs for United Artists Records, including the original recording of “Dancin’ in the Moonlight”, later a hit by friends King Harvest. Soon after Boffalongo disbanded in late 1971, Larry got a call from singer/songwriter (then-future, now-former US Congressman, D-NY, 19) John Hall, inviting him to come to Woodstock, NY to join with the late Wells Kelly and himself to form Orleans, which he did in early 1972. Larry’s younger brother, Lance, joined the band in the fall of that year.

The band initially found its core audience touring the clubs and college circuit of the northeastern United States and it was not until their third album, Let There Be Music, released in March 1975, that the band scored its first Billboard Hot 100 hit with “Let There Be Music”followed by Orleans biggest hits “Still the One“, “Dance With Me” and “Love Takes Time“. It was Larry’s remarkable tenor that clearly defined the success of these hits.

In 1977 Larry joined Jerry Marotta in the backing band for Garland Jeffreys. He and Orleans continued to tour with the likes of Stephen Stills and Chicago. In the early 80s Larry and his brother Lance formed a side group, Mood Ring. After a stint in Nashville, Larry and Orleans returned to Woodstock, and slowly re-established their presence in the Northeast over the next couple of years.

During off times with the band Larry also performed and/or recorded with Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Livingston Taylor, Lulu, Graham Parker, Blues Traveler, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Wariner, Michael Franks, Levon Helm, the late great Michael Brecker, the late great Chet Atkins, the late great Artie Traum, John Sebastian, Bela Fleck, Felix Cavaliere, Edgar Winter, Robbie Dupree, Spencer Davis, Rick Derringer, Mark Farner, John  Ford Coley, Jimi Jamison, John Cafferty and many more.
 
Larry released 3 solo albums: “HandMade” and “Looking for the Light”, the latter being a flagship fundraising vehicle for his 501(c)3 nonprofit Sunshine for HIV Kids, and One of the Lucky Ones.
 
Larry continued to write, tour and record with Orleans until his death on July 24, 2012 from “a perfect storm of life’s pressures” as it states on the band’s website. They were scheduled to perform in a concert sponsored by morning TV’s “Fox & Friends” on Friday July 27th.
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England Dan 3/2009

England-Dan-&-John-Ford-8March 25, 2009 – England Dan was born Danny Wayland Seals on February 8th 1948.

He was the younger brother of Jim Seals from the duo Seals & Crofts. Dan joined with fellow W.W. Samuell High School classmate and longtime friend John Ford Coley to perform first as part of Dallas pop/psych group Southwest”Freight on Board”/” F.O.B“, before going under the name of England Dan, and forming the soft rock duo England Dan & John Ford Coley in 1970.

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John “Mitch” Mitchell 11/2008

MitchMitchell-630-85November 12, 2008 – Mitch Mitchell was born on 9 July 1947 in Ealing, west of London. He started life in show business as a child actor on the TV series “Jennings At School”.

His love for jazz and pop music drove him to become a musician. Mitch’s main influences in music were Max Roach and Elvin Jones, teaching himself on the drums, he mixed jazz and rock styles, which later became known as “fusion”, of which he was a pioneer. In the early days he found work as a session player and worked with groups such as Johnny Harris and the Shades, the Pretty Things and the Riot Squad and in 1965 he began playing with Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames.

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Klaus Dinger 3/2008

Klaus DingerMarch 21, 2008 –  Klaus Dinger (Kraftwerk)  was born on March 24th 1946 in Scherfede and brought up in Düsseldorf. Influenced by UK rock acts such as The Kinks and The Rolling Stones, he formed a band in 1966 called The No. Other members were friends Norbert Körfer, Lutz Bellman and Jo Maassen.

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Richard Bell 6/2007

richard_bellJune 15, 2007 – Richard Bell was born in Toronto, Canada on March 5, 1946. The son of famous Canadian composer and musician Dr. Leslie Bell, he began piano lessons at the age of 4, and studied at Canada’s Royal Conservatory of Music. Later he also learned to play the organ, saxophone, and accordion, and composed music.

Bell’s career first gained significance when he joined Ronnie Hawkins as a member of the group And Many Others, following the departure of Hawkins’s previous band (who would gain fame as the Band). Hawkins fired the entire band in early 1970, and they renamed themselves Crowbar, subsequently recording Official Music (as King Biscuit Boy with Crowbar) (1970, Daffodil; 1996, Stony Plain). Bell left Crowbar shortly after this to join Janis Joplin’s Full Tilt Boogie Band, making good on an offer made the previous year when while on tour in New York, he was contacted by Michael Friedman, an associate of Janis Joplin’s manager Albert Grossman.

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Arthur Lee 8/2006

arthur lee of love with jimi hendrixAugust 2, 2006 – Arthur Lee (Love) was born Arthur Taylor Porter on March 7, 1945 in Memphis, Tennessee. During his parents’ divorce proceedings in early 1950, Lee and his mother packed their things and took a train to California, while his father was at work.

Lee’s first musical instrument was the accordion, which he took lessons from a teacher. He adapted to reading music and developed a good ear and natural musical intelligence. While he was never formally taught about musical theory and composition, he was able to mimic musicians from records and compose his own songs. Eventually, he persuaded his parents to buy him an organ and harmonica. Graduating from High School, Lee’s musical ambitions found opportunities between his local community and classmates. As opposed to attending a college under a sports scholarship, he strived for a musical career. His plan of forming a band was under the influence of Johnny Echols,(lead guitarist for LOVE, after seeing him perform “Johnny B. Goode” with a five-piece band at a school assembly.

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Mike Botts 12/2005

220px-Mikebotts-1Dec 9, 2005 – Mike Botts (Bread) was born Michael Gene Botts on Dec 8, 1944 in Oakland, Ca.  while still at college he played with a band called The Travelers Three and worked as a studio musician. He was working with Tony Medley when he met David Gates and became a member of Bread from 1970 to ’74, after which he toured and recorded with Linda Ronstadt for 2 years. He reunited with Bread in ’76 to ’78 for one final album and world tour. His always continued his session and studio career – working, recording and touring with the likes of Karla Bonoff, Andrew Gold, Richard Carpenter and Dan Fogelberg. In 1996, the members of Bread once again reunited for a world tour that ran until the fall of 1997. He also contributed to several soundtracks for films and finally recorded his only solo album, Adults Only, released in 2000.

In Mike’s own words a flashback of his life in music:

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Dennis D’Ell 7/2005

July 6, 2005 – Dennis D’Ell (the Honeycombs) was born Denis James Dalziel on October 14, 1943 in Whitecapel, London, England. His father was the son of a lorry driver, in Stepney, east London and Dennis trained as a signalman for British Railways. He was also a plumber before joining the Sheratons which became later the Honeycombs.

Encouraged by his railroad co-workers he entered and won a talent contest in 1963. A number of news articles imply that the talent contest led directly to Denis joining the Honeycombs, however it was a chance conversation between Martin Murray and a mutual friend which led to them hooking up.

Martin Murray and Alan Ward on guitars, John Lantree on bass, and his sister Anne Lantree on drums had a local semi-pro band called the Sheratons. Shortly afterwards the band auditioned with maverick producer Joe Meek, agreed on a management deal with new songwriters Howard and Blaikley, signed to Pye records, and changed their name to The Honeycombs. As Anne’s nickname was “Honey” and she and Murray were hairdressers (that is, combers), they became “the Honeycombs”, as suggested by Louis Benjamin (1922–1994), Pye’s later chairman, a pun on the drummer’s name and her job as a hairdresser’s assistant.

BBC employees and budding songwriters Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley recorded some demonstration records of their songs, including “Have I the Right?” with the Honeycombs.

Joe Meek offered to record them but went into a tantrum when they arrived late to meet him due to London traffic. Howard and Blaikley won him round and “Have I the Right?” was recorded in three parts – the backing musicians, the vocals and then the stomping on the stairs. While they were jumping up and down, the cleaning lady called and told them to hurry up.

Conspicuous in “Have I the Right?” is the prominence of the drums, whose effect was enhanced by members of the group stamping their feet on the wooden stairs to the studio. Meek recorded the effect with five microphones he had fixed to the banisters with bicycle clips. For the finishing touch someone beat a tambourine directly onto a microphone. The recording was also somewhat sped up.

Leased to Pye Records, “Have I the Right?” was promoted by the pirate station Radio Caroline and the publicity surrounding a group with a girl drummer was enormous. The sales started slowly, but by the end of July the record started to climb in the UK Singles Chart. Honey Lantree’s status as a female drummer in a top band wasn’t just a visual novelty, she genuinely could play drums. At the end of August the record reached No. 1. “Have I the Right?” was also a big success outside the UK, hitting No. 1 in Australia and Canada, No. 3 in Ireland, No. 5 in the US and No. 2 in the Netherlands. Overall sales of the record reached a million.

The group toured Europe, The Far East, Japan and Australia soon after the song had become a hit. They went on tour to the Far East and Australia, and were not able to promote their later records at home. The tour gained them a long-lasting popularity in Japan, however. Especially for the Japanese market the group produced a live album and a single, “Love in Tokyo”. The group also made a lasting impression in Sweden, where they scored two No. 1 singles.

The Honeycombs had further success with “Is It Because?” and made the album It’s the Honeycombs (1964), but D’Ell was uncomfortable with Meek’s speeded-up trickery and criticized him in an interview with New Musical Express. Meek then recorded the Ray Davies song “Something Better Beginning” at standard speed, admittedly with some distortion, but the record only nudged into the Top Forty. When Meek resorted to his regular activities, the Honeycombs had another Top Twenty hit, with “That’s the Way”, and made the album All Systems Go!

In August 1965 the group released, “That’s the Way”, with Honey Lantree sharing vocals with D’Ell (when on tour, Viv Prince of The Pretty Things took over the drumming). This record became their fourth British hit and reached No. 12. Its successor, “This Year Next Year”, again with Lantree and D’Ell sharing vocals, did not reach the UK chart. The group floundered after Meek’s suicide in 1967. They split up and did not reform until 1994.

D’Ell sang and played harmonica on all but the last single the group recorded. “Who Is Sylvia?” was an adaptation of Franz Schubert’s song “An Sylvia”. “It’s So Hard” was also recorded by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich as “Hard to Love You”.

In April 1966 Denis D’Ell, Alan Ward and Peter Pye left the group. D’Ell became a solo singer, usually of soul songs, and his “Better Use Your Head” (1967) became a 1970s favorite on the Northern Soul circuit.

In the early seventies Denis formed a band with Rod Butler called Zarabanda and also fronted the Don Harvey band.

• In 1975 he won a controversial victory in a national talent show.
• In April 1976 he released Home Is Home / Morning Without You
• In the 1980s he was with The Southside Blues Band.
• In 1983 he appeared in an episode of The Time Of Your Life
• In 1994 the MKII version of The Honeycombs reformed for a 30th anniversary gig, and around that time they recorded a cover of “Live And Let Die” for a compilation album Cult Themes from the 70s Volume 2 on Future Legend Records.
• During the nineties and into the new millennium he was with a duo called “The Shuffle Brothers” with Tommy Dunn (who also played with blues band National Gold) and sometimes Andy Robinson Andy Robinson Band who would depp for Tommy.

Andy Robinson, who played with him in later years said “Working with Dennis was a real pleasure and great learning curve. We used to play a pub in Southend on Sea called the “Minerva” on a Sunday, playing sometimes from midday to midnight and I don’t ever think he repeated a song once. His knowledge was enormous as was his talent and sound.
The last time I saw him was at a fundraising gig in Saffron Walden football club, his appearance was heartbreaking, he died soon after.”

On July 6, 2005 he lost his battle with cancer at the age of 61.

What is not so well known is that Denis did not particularly like the music that made him famous. He was critical of Joe Meek’s recording techniques. He said “There was always contention between us and Joe that he never recorded the band the way we sounded. He was fond of speeding us up so that I ended up sounding like Mickey Mouse. He liked to compress everything and put on so much echo ─ we ended up like the Tornados with a singer.”

In an August 1964 NME article, he gives his favourite singers as Elvis, Roy Orbison, and Brook Benton and favourite artists/instrumetalists as Ray Coniff, Floyd Cramer, Chet Atkins, and Bill Black. 

In the summer of 1964 Denis saw a band called ‘Dave Dee and the Bostons’ and liked them. He got them a slot supporting The Honeycombs and showed them to managers Howard and Blaikley who took the band on, changing the name to ‘Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick, and Titch’. The deal between The Honeycombs and Howard and Blaikley required that the Honeycombs got first refusal of all new songs written by the pair. If they turned a song down then it would go to Dave Dee. 

After Martin Murray left The Honeycombs the mantle of band leader naturally fell to D’Ell. Since Denis preferred blues to pop he turned down a lot of songs. In fact The Honeycombs second album only has three Howard and Blaikley numbers on it compared to the first which only had three songs NOT penned by the pair. 
Naturally those songs were offered to Dave Dee. So songs like ‘All I Want’, ‘No Time’, ‘You Make It Move’, 1965; and (among many others) ‘Bend It’ 1966 might have been Honeycombs songs.

Music must have been in Dennis’s blood since not only did he remain in the music business through thick and thin until his untimely death in 2005, but also his brother Laurie still plays bass to this day in various bands, including Medicine Hat.

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Jimmy Griffin 1/2005

jimmy griffinJanuary 11, 2005 – James Arthur Jimmy Griffin  (Bread) was born on August 10, 1943 in Cincinnati, Ohio and grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. His musical training began when his parents signed him up for accordion lessons. He attended Kingsbury High School in Memphis and Dorsey and Johnny Burnette were his across the street neighbors in the same housing project that was home to Elvis Presley from 1948 until 1954. After the Burnette brothers moved to Los Angeles, California to further their music careers, Griffin went to visit them and managed to secure a recording contract with Reprise Records.

“Dorsey played the upright bass and steel guitar, as well as acoustic guitar. Johnny played acoustic guitar and together they were fabulous songwriters and singers. Their harmonies were always real tight and I enjoyed singing with them, even at that age. Johnny Burnette had a big hit called Dreamin and then Dorsey had a hit called The Tall Oak Tree. “Dreamin was produced by Snuff Garrett, who also produced artists like Bobby Vee, Timi Yuro and others, and eventually myself.”

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John Fahey 2/2001

John FaheyFebruary 22, 2001 – John Aloysius Fahey was born on February 28, 1939 in Washington DC. Both his father, Aloysius John Fahey, and his mother, Jane (née Cooper), played the piano. In 1945, the family moved to the Washington suburb of Takoma Park, Maryland, where his father lived until his death in 1994. On weekends, the family attended performances of top country and bluegrass groups of the day, but it was hearing Bill Monroe’s version of Jimmie Rodgers’ “Blue Yodel No. 7” on the radio that ignited the young Fahey’s passion for music.

In 1952, after being impressed by guitarist Frank Hovington, whom he met while on a fishing trip, he purchased his first guitar for $17 from the Sears, Roebuck catalogue. Along with his budding interest in guitar, Fahey was attracted to record collecting. While his tastes ran mainly in the bluegrass and country vein, Fahey discovered his love of early blues upon hearing Blind Willie Johnson‘s “Praise God I’m Satisfied” on a record-collecting trip to Baltimore with his friend and mentor, the musicologist Richard K. Spottswood. Much later, Fahey compared the experience to a religious conversion and remained a devout blues disciple until his death.

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Johnny Watson 5/1996

johnny-guitar-watsonMay 17, 1996 – Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson was born on February 3rd 1935 in Houston Texas. His father John Sr. was a pianist, and taught his son the instrument. But young Watson was immediately attracted to the sound of the guitar, in particular the electric guitar as played by T-Bone Walker and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown.

His grandfather, a preacher, was also musical. “My grandfather used to sing while he’d play guitar in church, man,” Watson reflected many years later. When Johnny was 11, his grandfather offered to give him a guitar if, and only if, the boy didn’t play any of the “devil’s music”. Watson agreed, but later said “that was the first thing I did, play the devil’s music”. A musical prodigy, he played with Texas bluesmen Albert Collins and Johnny Copeland.

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Albert Collins 11/1993

Albert CollinsNov 24, 1993 – Albert Collins was born on October 1, 1932  in Leona Texas. The blues guitar came to him through his cousin Lightnin’ Hopkins, who lived in the same town and often played on family gatherings. Although initially a student of piano, he became the bluesmaster who played an altered tuning. Collins tuned his guitar to an open F minor chord (FCFAbCF), and then added a capo at the 5th, 6th or 7th fret. At the age of twelve, he made the decision to concentrate on learning the guitar after hearing “Boogie Chillen'” by John Lee Hooker.

In the early days Collins worked as a paint mixer and truck driver to make ends meet. In 1971, when he was 39 years old, Collins worked in construction, since he couldn’t make a proper living from his music. One of the construction jobs he worked on was a remodeling job for Neil Diamond. This type of work carried on right up until the late 1970s. It was his wife Gwen that talked him into returning to music. Continue reading Albert Collins 11/1993

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Blind Willie McTell 8/1959

Blind Willie McTell with wifeAugust 19, 1959 – Blind Willie McTell was born William Samuel McTier on May 5th 1898 in Thomson, Georgia. Few facts are known about his early life. Even his name is uncertain: his family name was either McTear or McTier, and his first name may have been Willie, Samuel, or Eddie. His tombstone reads “Eddie McTier.” He was blind either from birth or from early childhood, and he attended schools for the blind in Georgia, New York, and Michigan.

While in his early teens, McTell learned to play the guitar from his mother, relatives, and neighbors in Statesboro, where his family had moved. In his teenage years, after his mother’s death, he left home and toured in carnivals and medicine shows. In the 1920s and 1930s McTell traveled a circuit between Atlanta, Augusta, Savannah, and Macon. This region encompasses two major blues styles: Eastern Seaboard/Piedmont, with lighter, bouncier rhythms and a ragtime influence; and Deep South, with its greater emphasis on intense rhythms and short, repeated music phrases. Continue reading Blind Willie McTell 8/1959