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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 Toot Blues. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Toot Blues. Show all posts

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Alabama Slim

Slim grew up playing in juke joints in Alabama and moved to New Orleans in the ‘60s. Since joining MM, his music has been felt at performances in the States and abroad and he has recorded The Mighty Flood, an album featuring Slim & blues guitarist Little Freddie King.

Born: March 29, 1939 in Vance, Alabama
Repertoire Summary: Acoustic Blues
Current Location: New Orleans, LA

More about Alabama Slim:
Alabama Slim was born Milton Frazier in Vance, Alabama on March 29, 1939. His father worked building trains at the Pullman plant and his mother did domestic work. In their home, they had a Victrola and a boxful of 78s- this is where Slim fell in love with the Blues of Bill Broonzy and Lightnin’ Hopkins.

“I grew up listening to the old blues since I was a child. I spent summers with my grandparents who had a farm. Them old folks would get to moanin’ while they worked, and I just started moanin’ with them. That’s where I learned to sing. When I got grown I formed a band and we played little juke joints in the 50s and 60s. In ‘65, I came to New Orleans after hurricane Betsy. Got me a job with a moving company and then one making cooking oil. My cousin Freddie King was drinking hard in those days, and I was too. We jammed every once in awhile. By the time the 80s rolled around I was not doing much but Freddie always checked on me. By the 90s I got myself together and we have been the best of friends ever since, tighter than brothers really; there is not a day that goes by when we do not speak or see each other.” - Alabama Slim

When MMRF founder Tim Duffy, first met Slim, he recalled, “I met Alabama Slim in New Orleans while visiting Bluesman Little Freddie King. Slim is a towering man, close to seven feet tall. He was very well spoken and dressed in an impeccable tailored suit. He told me he was an old friend of Freddie’s and was originally from Huntsville, Alabama. I told him if he ever got back there soon, that he should call me and I will get him into a great recording studio up there.”

New Orleans drummer Wacko Wade introduced Music Maker to New Orleans Blues guitar patriarch Little Freddie King in the late 90s and he and Freddie and Alabama have since been performing with Music Maker. Upon losing all of their possession in the floodwater of Hurricane Katrina, Alabama and Freddie settled in Dallas, TX in an apartment complex and spent most of their days working up old and new songs. Soon after, they visited producer/drummer Ardie Dean and recorded a session. Impressed by Slim’s voice and Freddie’s guitar work that danced and followed Slim wherever he went, Tim Duffy asked the two to come to NC to record. Slim and Freddie visited Music Maker that December and between fellow New Orleans musicians Slewfoot and Carrie B., they cut The Mighty Flood.
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Guitar Gabriel

Robert Lewis Jones (October 12, 1925 – April 2, 1996), known as both Guitar Gabriel and Nyles Jones, was an American blues Musician. Gabriel's unique style of guitar playing, which he referred to as "Toot Blues", combined Piedmont, Chicago, and Texas blues, as well as gospel, and was influenced by artists such as Blind Boy Fuller and Reverend Gary Davis. After hearing of Guitar Gabriel from the late Greensboro, North Carolina blues guitarist and pianist, James "Guitar Slim" Stephens, musician and folklorist Tim Duffy located and befriended Gabriel, who was the inspiration for the creation of the Music Maker Relief Foundation. Gabriel wore a trademark white sheepskin hat, which he acquired while traveling and performing with medicine shows during his late 1920s.
Gabriel was born in Atlanta, Georgia, moving to Winston-Salem, North Carolina at age five. His father, Sonny Jones (also known as Jack Jones, James Johnson, and as Razorblade for an act in which he ate razor blades, mason jars, and light bulbs) recorded for Vocalion Records in 1939 in Memphis, accompanied by Sonny Terry and Oh Red (George Washington). Sonny Jones also recorded a single for the Orchid label in Baltimore in 1950 (as Sunny Jones). His family, who grew up sharecropping, shared a talent for music. His great-grandmother, an ex-slave, called set dances and played the banjo; his grandfather played banjo and his grandmother the pump organ; his father and uncle were blues guitarists and singers and his sisters sang blues and gospel.

In 1935, Gabriel's family moved to Durham, North Carolina, where he began playing guitar on the streets. Between the ages of 15 and 25, Gabriel traveled the country playing the guitar in medicine shows. During his travels, he performed with artists such as Bo Diddley, Lightnin' Hopkins, Louis Jordan, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, B. B. King, T-Bone Walker and Jimmy Reed. In 1970, Gabriel went to Pittsburgh and recorded a single, "Welfare Blues," as well as an album, My South, My Blues, with the Gemini label under the name "Nyles" Jones. The 45 became a hit in Pittsburgh and Cleveland and though the album sold well, Gabriel never saw any royalties.Disillusioned and embittered by the music business, Gabriel returned home to Winston-Salem where he continued playing music, but expressly for his community, at churches, homes, clubs, "drink houses," and even at bus stops when children were returning home from school. The album, My South, My Blues was reissued in 1988, on the French label, Jambalaya, as Nyles Jones, the Welfare Blues.
Tim Duffy and Guitar Gabriel in Utrecht, 1991

In March 1990, musician and folklorist Tim Duffy began searching for Guitar Gabriel. After being directed to a drink house in Winston-Salem, Duffy met Gabriel's nephew, Hawkeye, who took him to meet Gabriel. Duffy and Gabriel forged a friendship, and began performing under the name Guitar Gabriel & Brothers in the Kitchen, later recording the album, which was released on cassette, "Do You Know What it Means to Have a Friend?" on their own Karibu label. During this time, Duffy would assist the impoverished Gabriel by providing transportation, paying bills, and providing food for him and his wife, but realized that there were many more musicians like Gabriel who were in need of the same assistance, and who were still capable and willing to record and perform. In 1994, Tim and his wife, Denise Duffy founded the Music Maker Relief Foundation. Through this foundation, Gabriel was able to perform in professional venues, including the Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, and made several trips to Europe. Gabriel died April 2, 1996, and is buried with his guitar (per his request to Duffy) at the Evergreen Cemetery in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
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Friday, October 28, 2011

Route 66 - Eddie Tigner

Eddie Tigner was born on Aug. 11, 1926, in Macon, Georgia. After his father died from mustard gas in World War I, his mother married a coal miner who moved the family to a mining camp in Kentucky. Eddie fondly remembers listening to bluegrass and country and western music as a child. When he was 14, the family returned South to Atlanta, and Eddie started following his piano-playing mother to house parties, breakdowns, fish fries, and barbecues, where she was in demand as an entertainer.

Eddie didn't learn to play the piano himself, however, until he began his service in the Army in 1945 and was taught by a friend, Edward Louis, at a base in Maryland. Eddie was in charge of booking entertainment at the special service hall each weekend, and often drove to Baltimore to pick up Bill Kenney (of the original Ink Spots) and his group to perform for the servicemen.

Returning to Atlanta after his discharge, Eddie joined the Musicians' Union in 1947 and put together his first group, the Maroon Notes, in which he played vibes. They performed in vaudeville shows at theaters in Atlanta, and often toured through small towns as far as the West Coast of Florida. Eddie also played with legendary blues guitarist Elmore James during the early '50s, when James was living in Atlanta. They performed on weekends at the Lithonia Country Club, which featured all-black motorcycle and stock car races each Saturday.

In 1959, a version of the Ink Spots--one of several that traversed the country playing hotel lounges using the name of the original group-- had a show in Atlanta and needed a pianist. Eddie joined the band and performed steadily as an "Ink Spot" until 1987, booked throughout this entire period by T.D. Kemp of Charlotte, N.C.

These days, Eddie "feeds the children" at his job in an elementary school cafeteria, but he's also been playing in small clubs around Atlanta since 1991. Atlanta guitarist Danny "Mudcat" Dudeck introduced Eddie to the Music Maker Relief Foundation, and he has since appeared at major events including the Chicago Blues Festival and the Blues to Bop Festival in Lugano, Switzerland.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Move On - George Higgs

This is another real straight guy.

"George Higgs hails from Edgecombe County, North Carolina and is a wonderful guitar and harp player in the Piedmont tradition. Throughout the 40’s and 50’s he was a popular performer at fish fries and house parties and later on performed gospel with a local quartet.

He apparently recorded for the Trix label in the early 70’s but these sides were never issued. 'Tarboro Blues' is a beautifully played debut filled with mostly traditional songs sung in a deeply moving and personal manner. Higgs is a moving singer, powerful harp blower and has a gentle, propulsive guitar style that make for engaging listening.

Higgs rolls through a set of traditional material like the driving 'My Hook’s In The Water', the heartfelt 'Geraldine', the good time feel of 'Greasy Greens' and the moving “'Sides to Every Story.' Fans of bluesman like Pink Anderson and Peg Leg Sam will certainly want to investigate this record." -Jeff Harris, Bad Dog Blues
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rainy Night in Georgia - Captain Luke and Cool John

Captain really has a great deep voice... he's not only a joker!!
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How to Drink Beer w/Captain Luke (EXPLICIT CONTENT!)

This guy is outrageous!!
Born: November 27, 1927 in Greenville, SC
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Adolphus Bell - Pawn Shop

“I got the advantage over a lot of artists. I got my whole band by myself.” - Adolphus Bell

Feet flying, eyes flashing, hands on the guitar and song coming from the heart, that’s the Adolphus Bell One-Man Band.

Born: June 5, 1944, Birmingham, Alabama
Repertoire Summary: One Man Band, original Blues, Spirited
Current Location: Birmingham, AL
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