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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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Showing posts with label Beverly Guitar Watkins. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Beverly Guitar Watkins. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Pop Ferguson Blues Heritage Festival in Lenoir, N.C.

Nitro and Slim
Beverly Guitar Watkins
Bill Perry
Wanda Johnson

Pop Ferguson Blues Heritage Festival is a living documentary that makes every attempt to promote, preserve and advance the culture of Blues music as an art form in America. The festival gives its audiences an experiential day with the sights, sounds, and smells of authentic Blues music.
If you have attended the festival in the past, then you know and understand what Pop Ferguson Blues means when we say experiential. Pop Ferguson Blues believes that you "educate first, then entertain;" so, we present all educational and fun Blues shows.
What is a Pop Ferguson Blues Heritage Festival like?
When you come to a Pop Ferguson Blues Festival, you will feel like you have gone back in time expecting that you will hear and see Ma Rainey or Son House with Mississippi John Hurt at any time. Maybe the Delta Gang is in the next venue. You will find guys like Bukka White, Skip James, Lonnie Young, or the guitar master Lonnie Johnson. Do not forget Big Mama Thornton, Victoria Spivey, and Big Mae Belle with Pink Anderson singing “Baby Please Don’t Go.” Just maybe the gals and guys from the Carolinas will show up. Carolina Slim, Blind Boy Fuller, or Rev. Gary Davis. It sounds like a make believe event, but that's what we wish for you.
This is our 7th year. Our theme is - "Keep The Jook Joint Jumpin," – and we have included some of the last Blues artists to actually play in an Authentic Jook, whose ages range from 72 to 87 years old. These guys and gals lived and sang while "Jim Crow" was alive and well. Jim Crow may be a little quieter, but the JOOK JOINT Blues they play is alive and well - and just as low down as they were back in the day.
The Lineup includes: Sarasota Slim and Nitro Bosman, Barbara Carr, Mac Arnold and a plate full of Blues, Wanda Johnson, Don Vappie, Trudy Lynn, Big Bill Morganfield, Beverly “Guitar” Watkins, Terry “Big T” Williams, Gaye Adegabalola and The Wild Rutz’s, Bill Perry, Kat Williams, Pop Ferguson, along with 6 other Blues bands to round out our roster of 18 blues performers.
Pop Ferguson Blues will also award one young performer (or group) with a $5,000 scholarship, in its second year "Cuttin' Heads" challenge. The rules are simple. Contestants must be amateurs 18 years old or younger and will perform two traditional blues or gospel songs of their choice. Performances will be adjudicated by their peers and a select panel of judges. The winner will perform on stage at the festival.
For more information go to

Friday, August 15, 2014

Music Maker Blues Revue at Lincoln Center

Music Maker Blues Revue's packed show at Lincoln Center Out Of Doors last Sunday as part of Americana Fest NYC.

Beverly "Guitar" Watkins, Ironing Board Sam, Dom Flemons, Albert White, and company rocked the joint and earned a standing ovation!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Toot Blues - Film

In the late 1980s, Timothy Duffy, a penniless North Carolina musicology student, set out to document and preserve traditional southern roots and blues music. On his travels from Winston-Salem's drinkhouse music scene, an off-the-grid hotbed of gritty traditional blues, to deep-south family run churches, he found purpose and inspiration from a cast of amazingly talented, pure and unique set of characters (the artists!!).
Toot Blues remarkably captures the true essence and talent of the artists from Guitar Gabriel, a 'homeless magic potion selling' blues genius; to Willa Mae Buckner, a snake charming elderly woman taunting delightfully raunchy blues; to Beverly 'Guitar' Watkins, a grandmother who continues to tear up the stage and play a killer electric guitar behind her head; to Bishop Dready Manning and family churning out homebrewed rockabilly-gospel; to Boo Hanks, an 80 year-old bluesman recording an album for the very first time; to blind guitarist, Cootie Stark, mesmerizing crowds world-wide while never failing to find his way home by himself.
Shortly after befriending and championing for these artists Tim quickly realized the limitations set upon them by living in poverty, not only in their struggles to survive and support their families but also their ability to afford time and outlets to continue with their deepest passions-music, by a simple twist of fate, Tim along with his wife Denise, began the Music Maker Relief Foundation.
With rare footage, interviews, and numerous live performances, the film documents these unique musicians, brought together through the Music Maker community and their shared and vital musical heritage.
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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Back in Business - Beverly Guitar Watkins

Beverly "Guitar" Watkins (born c. 1940, Atlanta, Georgia) is an American black female blues guitarist. Sandra Pointer-Jones writes, "Beverly Watkins is a pyrotechnic guitar maven whose searing, ballistic attacks on the guitar have become allegorical tales within the blues community." George Varga, reviewing her debut CD, observed that Watkins “sings and plays with enough poise and verve to make musicians half her age or younger consider alternative means of employment.”

When Watkins was approximately 12, her family moved to Commerce, Georgia. She began playing music as a schoolchild, and then in high school played bass for a band called Billy West Stone and the Down Beats. In approximately 1959, her junior year of high school, she was introduced to Piano Red, who had a daily radio show on WAOK, and she subsequently joined Piano Red and the Meter-tones, who played in a number of towns in the Atlanta area, and then Atlanta clubs such as the Magnolia Ballroom and the Casino, before starting to tour throughout the southeast, primarily at colleges. About the time the group renamed itself Piano Red and the Houserockers, they started touring nationally.

The group had two successful singles: "Dr. Feelgood" and "Right String But The Wrong Yo-Yo". After recording "Dr. Feelgood" the group was known variously as Piano Red & The Interns, Dr. Feelgood & The Interns, and Dr. Feelgood, The Interns, and The Nurse. The group also included Roy Lee Johnson (composer of "Mr. Moonlight", later recorded by The Beatles).

After the breakup of the band in approximately 1965, Watkins played with Eddie Tigner and the Ink Spots, Joseph Smith and the Fendales, and then with Leroy Redding and the Houserockers until the late 1980s. Subsequently she has been based in Atlanta, a well-known fixture at the Underground Atlanta.

Watkins, who not only had a long and continuous musical career, but worked with artists like James Brown, B.B. King and Ray Charles, was well-known for years within the blues community. However, like many roots musicians both black and white, she found it difficult to crack the airwaves, and achieved renown late in her career, after the advent of the Internet made it possible for musicians not backed by major labels to be heard by a wider audience. She was re-discovered by Music Maker Relief Foundation founder Tim Duffy, who started booking her in package shows, and in 1998, with Koko Taylor and Rory Block, was part of the all-star Women of the Blues “Hot Mamas” tour. Her 1999 CD debut, Back in Business, earned a W. C. Handy Award nomination in 2000.

Watkins was playing internationally (e.g., the Main Stage at the Ottawa Blues Fest in 2004) as well as in her hometown Atlanta until temporarily sidelined by surgery in 2005, but is recovered and taking bookings. She performed a set at the 2008 Cognac Blue Festival.