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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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Sunday, March 25, 2012

4 AM - Texas Blues - Joey Long

LONG, JOEY (1932–1995). Joey Long, blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter, was born Joseph Earl Longoria in Zwolle, Louisiana, on December 17, 1932, the son of Earlene Leone and Fred Longoria. His parents were of Italian-French and Mexican-French extraction. When Joey was very young the family moved to Merryville, Louisiana, and continued sharecropping during some of the bleakest years of the Great Depression. Along with his parents, six brothers, and one sister, Joey picked cotton, worked on the farm, and lived a hard rural life.Long made a living recording and performing in Houston-area clubs such as the Cedar Lounge. He built a solid reputation as a multitalented musician. His authentic, down-home, country blues sound, as well as his unique, flamboyant style, caught the attention of many young white artists who wanted to play the blues. Tary Owens, an Austin musician, folklorist, and record producer, believed that Long was the first non-black blues musician in Texas to play with black blues bands. Early in the 1960s, for example, Duke-Peacock recording artist Big Walter the Thunderbird invited Long to play lead guitar on a new recording since guitarist Albert Collins had left the band shortly before the scheduled recording date. Big Walter's song "Nobody Loves Me" features Long on lead guitar.
Long's involvement in the Texas music scene and his profound influence on a whole generation of Texas musicians is not widely recognized outside of the Houston area. Nevertheless, his playing style had a huge impact on musicians such as Johnny Winter and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. John Turner, who has also played with Winter, described Long as the "godfather" of all white blues guitar players from Texas.

A mild stroke in the mid-1980s slowed Long down only slightly. Barbarella indicated that her husband refused to stop playing and would not follow the doctor's orders for medications and rest. The lifestyle typical of many musicians––late hours, alcohol, and drugs––no doubt contributed to Long's sudden death from a heart attack and brain hemorrhage on March 22, 1995. He was buried in Houston and survived by his wife and three children.
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