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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Richmond Blues - John Cephas and Phil Wiggins

Cephas & Wiggins was an American acoustic blues duo composed of guitarist John Cephas (September 4, 1930 – March 4, 2009) and harmonica player Phil Wiggins (born May 8, 1954).They were known for traditional blues style known as the Piedmont blues.
Both musicians were born in Washington D.C., although Cephas was older by some 25 years. They first met at a jam session at the Smithsonian's Festival of American Folklife in 1975 or 1976, and played together in Wilbert "Big Chief" Ellis's band. When Ellis died, they decided to continue as a duo.

In 1980, Cephas & Wiggins were recorded by German archivists Siegfried Christmann and Axel Kustner. These recordings were their first as a duo and they were released the following year on as a part of Living Country Blues USA series on German label L+R.

In 1986, Cephas & Wiggins released Dog Days of August, their first U.S. release on Flying Fish Records. In 1989, Cephas was awarded the National Heritage Fellowship.

Two more albums followed from Flying Fish. After they left the label, they released one album from New York-based Chesky Records, and four from Alligator Records.

Cephas died of natural causes on March 4, 2009. He was 78. The duo had released Richmond Blues on Folkways Records in 2008.

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