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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, March 20, 2013

Sugar Boogie - Marcia Ball

Marcia Ball (born March 20, 1949, Orange, Texas, United States) is an American blues singer and pianist, born in Orange, Texas but who grew up in Vinton, Louisiana. She was described in USA Today as "a sensation, saucy singer and superb pianist... where Texas stomp-rock and Louisiana blues-swamp meet." The Boston Globe described her music as "an irresistible celebratory blend of rollicking, two-fisted New Orleans piano, Louisiana swamp-rock and smoldering Texas blues from a contemporary storyteller." Born into a musical family, Ball began playing piano at age 5, and showed an early interest in New Orleans style piano playing, as exemplified by Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, and James Booker. She has named Irma Thomas, the New Orleans vocalist, as her chief vocal inspiration. Ball entered Louisiana State University in the late 1960s as an English major. In college, she played in a psychedelic rock and roll band, called Gum. In 1970, at age 21, she started a progressive country band called Freda and the Firedogs in Austin, Texas, and began her solo career in 1974. Ball is known for her piano style, which shows elements of zydeco, swamp blues, Louisiana blues and boogie woogie. She began her recording career as a solo artist with Rounder Records in the 1980s and early 1990s. In 2001, she joined Chicago-based Alligator Records. Her Rounder album, Sing It!, which also featured vocalists Irma Thomas and Tracy Nelson, released in January 1998 was nominated for both a Grammy Award and a Blues Music Award as "Best Contemporary Blues Album." Ball also received the 1998 Blues Music Award for "Contemporary Female Vocalist of the Year" and "Best Blues Instrumentalist-Keyboards." She was awarded “Contemporary Blues Album of the Year” for her albums Presumed Innocent (2002) and So Many Rivers (2004). The same year she also won “Contemporary Blues Artist of the Year-Female.” She won the "Best Blues Instrumentalist-Keyboards" again in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009. Her 2003 Alligator release, So Many Rivers, was nominated for a Grammy as were Live! Down The Road (2005) and Peace, Love & BBQ (2008). She was inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame in 1990. Ball has continued to work with Irma Thomas. In 2006, the two contributed a duet ("Look Up") on the New Orleans Social Club release, Sing Me Back Home (Burgundy Records/Honey Darling Records). In 2007, the two contributed another duet ("I Can't Get New Orleans Off My Mind") to Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino (Vanguard Records). Ball, who has established herself as an important player in the club scenes in both New Orleans, Louisiana and Austin continues to work at festivals and clubs throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. The currentband members are Ball (piano, vocals); Don Bennett (bass, vocals); Mike Schermer (guitar, vocals); Damien Llanes (drums, vocals); Thad Scott (saxophone)

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  1. Saw Marcia Ball for the first time in August of 1999 at the Louisiana Superdome. Walked in there and saw this tall skinny chick swingin' her leg and pounding that piano. Had no idea who she was. But I loved it. When the set for Earth, Wind, & Fire came on inside the Superdome, Marcia moved outside along with Rockin' Dopsie & The Zydeco Twisters. I went outside and listened to more of her and completely bagged the Earth Wind & Fire concert. Gonna see her again in October on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise on which I certainly hope to see Marcia & Irma Thomas together!!

  2. Dog... you see everybody. Thanks for the comments. You know I trust your never steer me wrong!