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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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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

RIP Earl Gilliam January 13, 1930 - October 19, 2011 - Bob Corritore correspondent

This sad news in from Donovan Allen of Houston, Texas: Texas piano and organ ace, Earl Gilliam, died on October 19 at his home in Tomball, Texas just Northwest of Houston from advanced lung disease. He was 81. After an initial lung collapse in 2008, he recovered and played another year before retiring in 2010. Known for his tenure with Joe ‘Guitar’ Hughes and as a member in the earlier bands of Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Johnny Clyde Copeland, Albert Collins and famed songwriter/singer Percy Mayfield, Earl Gilliam peppered the Texas Gulf Coast blues scene since 1949 with his groovy jazz-flavored organ and piano parts. Born in New Waverly, Texas, Earl was the second youngest of ten children – all sang and played piano and home-made instruments. He began performing in the town’s Baptist church at the age of ten. Earl found his way to Houston by age 17. He lived in the infamous Fifth Ward, home also to Lightin’ Hopkins. Earl would go on to play with Lightnin’ as a duo in the region back in the 60’s and 70’s. When he was 19, he began playing in Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown’s band.
Earl also became one of the pianists at the Third Ward’s historic Shady's Playhouse - which also showcased Elmore Nixon, Amos Milburn, Teddy Reynolds and Lonnie Lyons. He later lead the house band at the Hamilton Inn for a number of years and the Club Matinee and backed bluesman Grady Gaines as well as the traveling national blues stars such as Big Joe Turner, Roy Brown, Nappy Brown and many others. Later, Earl joined Albert Collins’ band at the Walter’s Lounge and played with him for a about 5 years. Earl also played with Texas greats Goree Carter, Big Mama Thornton, Lightin’ Hopkins, T-Bone Walker, Esther Phillips, Lester Williams, Hop Wilson, Luvenia Lewis, Percy Mayfield, Little Joe Washington and Trudy Lynn. In 2005, he formed a band of Blues veterans that included Duke-Peacock session guitarist I.J. Gosey, bassist Fred Arceneaux (Joe Hughes) and Jackie Gray (Clarence Green) on drums with live recordings due out for release. Dialtone records released Earl's Texas Doghouse Blues CD in 2005. This veteran Texas musician devoted his life to the blues and has left a lasting mark.
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  1. We miss our father....Sumner Earl, Alford Earl, Charles Earl, vernette, Donna, Mildred, vernette, pearl ,and Mae. Rip daddy...