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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Boogie Bill Webb & Harmonica Slim

Harmonica Slim was born Travis L. Blaylock (Dec. 20, 1934) in Texas. He picked up the instrument around the age of 12 and was soon working as part of the Sunny South Gospel Singers gospel group, broadcasting over radio station KCMC in his hometown of Texarkana from the mid-'40s on. By 1949, he moved to Los Angeles, ingratiating himself into the burgeoning blues community, working package shows with Lowell Fulson and the like. He first recorded as a sideman on a group of dates in the mid-'50s for West Coast labels like Aladdin, Spry, and Vita. After spending most of the '60s working dates with Percy Mayfield, Harmonica Fats, B.B. King, T-Bone Walker and others, Slim finally got to record a full album under his own name for the Bluestime label in 1969.
Boogie Bill Webb (March 24, 1924 – August 22, 1990) was an American Louisiana blues and R&B guitarist, singer and songwriter. Webb's own style of music combined Mississippi country blues with New Orleans R&B.[1] His best known recordings were "Bad Dog" and "Drinkin' and Stinkin'". Despite a lengthy, albeit stuttering, career, Webb nevertheless only released one album.
Born in Jackson, Mississippi, Webb's first guitar at the age of eight was stringed with screen wire and made from a cigar box. His greatest influence was Tommy Johnson. With a real guitar obtained whist a teenager, in 1947 Webb won a talent show, and subsequently briefly appeared in the musical film, The Jackson Jive, before settling in New Orleans in 1952.

Webb obtained a recording contract with Imperial Records, after his friendship with Fats Domino led to his introduction to Dave Bartholomew. In 1953 Webb released his debut single, "Bad Dog," a non commercial slice of country boogie-woogie. Frustrated by lack of recognition, Webb relocated to Chicago, where he worked in various factories. In Chicago, Webb met and sat in with Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed, and Chuck Berry.

Webb returned to New Orleans in 1959 to work as a stevedore, performing music infrequently. However, in 1968 he recorded several songs for the folklorist David Evans, which eventually appeared on the Arhoolie Records album Roosevelt Holts and His Friends. The 1972 compilation album, The Legacy of Tommy Johnson contained five tracks performed by Webb.

A combination of the exposure at home and in Europe led to visits to Webb from blues fans, and invitations to tour. In 1982 Webb appeared at the Dutch Utrecht Festival. Finally in 1989, with financial assistance from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, Webb released Drinkin' and Stinkin'. His experience of encountering three drunken women, who had been out drinking for three days without bathing, inspired the lyrics for the title track of the album.

Boogie Bill Webb died in New Orleans in August 1990, at the age of 66.

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  1. HELLO
    THE CD HARMONICA slim " give me my shotgun " is not harmonica slim ( travis l. block ) but is harmonica slim ( richard riggins ) born in 1921 . I think is a mistake

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  3. This Harmonica Slim is neither Travis Blaylock nor Richard Riggins who both recorded under this moniker but John Williams who made an LP for the Ahura Mazda label in 1970 under the name Harmonica Williams. He stayed in New Orleans until the early 1990's, playing with his own band (with very often Little Freddie King) or his fellow veteran local bluesmen like Boggie Bill Webb