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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 died. Show all posts
Showing posts with label died. Show all posts

Friday, June 1, 2018

Eddy Clearwater has passed - My thoughts are with his family and friends



BLUES LEGEND EDDY CLEARWATER: JANUARY 10, 1935 - JUNE 1, 2018

Grammy-nominated Chicago blues legend Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater died of heart failure on Friday, June 1, in his hometown of Skokie, Illinois. He was 83.

Born Edward Harrington on January 10, 1935 in Macon, Mississippi, Clearwater (as he came to be known) was internationally lauded for his blues-rocking guitar playing, his original songs and his flamboyant showmanship. He was inducted into the Blues Hall Of Fame in 2016, and also won two Blues Music Awards including Contemporary Male Blues Artist Of The Year in 2001.

Clearwater was equally comfortable playing the deepest, most intense blues or his own brand of rocking, good-time party music – a style he called “rock-a-blues,” mixing blues, rock, rockabilly, country and gospel. Between his slashing guitar work and his room-filling vocals, Clearwater was among the very finest practitioners of the West Side style of Chicago blues. DownBeat called him “a forceful six-stringer...He lays down gritty West Side shuffles and belly-grinding slow blues that highlight his raw chops, soulful vocals, and earthy, humorous lyrics." Blues Revue said he played “joyous rave-ups. He testifies with stunning soul fervor and powerful guitar. He is one of the blues’ finest songwriters.”

Clearwater's musical talent became clear early on. From his Mississippi birthplace, He and his family moved to Birmingham, AL in 1948 when he was 13. With music from blues to gospel to country & western surrounding him from an early age, Clearwater taught himself to play guitar (left-handed and upside down), and began performing with various gospel groups, including the legendary Five Blind Boys of Alabama. After moving to Chicago in 1950, he stayed with an uncle and took a job as a dishwasher, saving as much as he could from his $37 a week salary. His first music jobs were with gospel groups playing in local churches. Through his uncle’s contacts, Clearwater met many of Chicago’s blues stars. He fell deeper under the spell of the blues, and befriended Magic Sam, who would become one of Clearwater’s closest friends and teachers.

By 1953, as Guitar Eddy, he was making a strong name for himself, working the South and West Side bars regularly. After hearing Chuck Berry in 1957, Clearwater added a rock and roll element to his already searing blues style, creating a unique signature sound. He recorded his first single, Hill Billy Blues, for his uncle’s Atomic H label in 1958 under the name Clear Waters (his manager at the time, drummer Jump Jackson, came up with the name as a play on Muddy Waters). The name Clear Waters morphed into Eddy Clearwater. He worked the Chicago club circuit steadily throughout the 1950s, 1960s and into the 1970s. He found huge success in the 1970s among the city's college crowd, who responded to his individual brand of blues, his rock and roll spirit and his high energy stage show.

Clearwater's first full-length LP, 1980’s The Chief, was the initial release on Chicago’s Rooster Blues label, launching him onto the national and international blues scene. Over the decades he recorded over 15 solo albums and never stopped touring, with fans from Chicago to Japan to Poland. His 2003 album on Bullseye Blues, Rock ‘N’ Roll City, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album. He released West Side Strut on Alligator in 2008 to both international popular and critical acclaim. His most recent CD was the self-released Soul Funky in 2014.

Clearwater is survived by his wife, Renee Greenman Harrington Clearwater, children Heather Greenman, Alyssa Jacquelyn, David Knopf, Randy Greenman, Jason Harrington and Edgar Harrington and grandchildren Gabriella Knopf and Graham Knopf.

Services will be held on Tuesday, June 5 at 11:00am at Chicago Jewish Funerals, 8851 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, IL 60077.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Gregg Allman has died - My thoughts are with his family

Gregg Allman, one of the founding members of The Allman Brothers Band, has died. He was 69.
The southern rocker's passing was announced on his official website, adding that Allman "passed away peacefully at his home in Savannah, Georgia" on Saturday.
Allman's death comes after rumors circulated last month that he had entered hospice care. A rep for the rocker told ABC News that the rumors were not true.
Still, Allman had been suffering from ill health in recent years, dealing with a respiratory infection, a hernia, a liver transplant and an irregular heartbeat.
Back in March, he canceled all his 2017 tour dates to support his upcoming album "Southern Blood" due to his health.
Michael Lehman, a close friend of Allman's, said in a statement posted to his website: "I have lost a dear friend and the world has lost a brilliant pioneer in music. He was a kind and gentle soul with the best laugh I ever heard."
"His love for his family and bandmates was passionate as was the love he had for his extraordinary fans. Gregg was an incredible partner and an even better friend. We will all miss him," the statement concluded.
Allman is survived by his wife Shannon Allman along with their four children and three grandchildren.
According to his website, "The family will release a statement soon, but for now ask for privacy during this very difficult time."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tribute to Lonnie Mack - Our prayers are with his family


Lonnie Mack (born Lonnie McIntosh, 18 July 1941, Dearborn County, Indiana) was an American rock, blues and country guitarist and vocalist.

Mack's early 1960s instrumental hits “Memphis” and “Wham!” influenced a generation of guitarists and whose singular mix of blues, country and gospel inspired performers such as Keith Richards, Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Allman Brothers Band and Danny Gatton, died April 21 in Nashville. He was 74. Alligator Records announced the death but did not disclose the cause. Mr. Mack lived in Smithville, Tenn. “Memphis,” an instrumental variation on Chuck Berry’s “Memphis, Tenn.,” and Mr. Mack’s follow-up, “Wham,” cut through the predictability of 1963 Top 40 radio, where teen idols and reverb-drenched surf instrumentals ruled. Mr. Mack’s guitar work combined the harsh attack of urban blues with the frenetic tempos of rock-and-roll. His guitar — an arrow-shaped 1958 Gibson Flying V — was as distinctive as his playing style: chords that rang with an organ-like sustain, courtesy of his Magnatone amp, followed by a barrage of trebly, staccato notes during his solos. “Lonnie Mack was one of the first white guys to really make a mark playing blues-infused guitar,” said record producer and blues historian Dick Shurman. “I think of him as a prototype of what later could be called Southern rock. His music was a blend — it wasn’t a conscious blend — he brought black and white styles together seamlessly.” Lonnie Mack, center, with Keith Richards, left, and Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones at the Lone Star in New York City on July 10, 1985. (Courtesy of Alligator Records) Although his instrumentals sold in great numbers, Mr. Mack struggled to find chart success with his impassioned late 1960s ballads such as “Why,” “I’ll Keep You Happy” and “Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way.” Mr. Mack was one of the first “blue-eyed soul” singers whose records were promoted as rhythm-and-blues. He recalled going to a soul radio station in Birmingham, Ala., for an interview when “Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way” was beginning to break out. The disc jockey stopped playing it when he discovered Mr. Mack was white. But others were taken with Mr. Mack’s soulful style. Rock critic Greil Marcus said of “Why,” which climaxes with a full-throated scream in its last verse, “This tune offers a false choice: listening to the most stately ballad in the annals of white blues, or listening to a man kill himself. The choice is false because in the last verse, you don’t get to choose.” In between the gigs, he did session guitar work behind James Brown, Hank Ballard and the Midnighters and blues guitarist Freddie King. He later filled in as a session bassist for The Doors on the songs “Roadhouse Blues” and “Maggie M’Gill.” Mr. Mack moved to California in 1968 when he signed with Elektra Records. The company also hired him to scout for talent, but he came to loathe the job after Elektra failed to sign singer-songwriter Carole King at his suggestion. Mr. Mack, who was known for a quick temper — he once shot his computer with a gun — was also viewed by record company executives as difficult. “His temperament wasn’t suited to stardom,” Shurman said. “I think he’d rather have been hunting and fishing. He didn’t like cities or the business.” By the late 1970s, he had returned to playing local jobs in Indiana and Ohio. In 1985, Vaughan persuaded Mr. Mack to move to Austin, where he signed with Chicago-based blues label Alligator and recorded “Strike Like Lightnin’,” with a guest appearance from Vaughan. That same year, he performed at Carnegie Hall for the concert DVD “Further On Up the Road,” with fellow guitarists Albert Collins and Roy Buchanan. Lonnie McIntosh was born in West Harrison, Ind., on July 18, 1941. His father, a farmhand, played banjo, and Mr. Mack began performing guitar in the family bluegrass band at 7. “Didn’t have a record player or nothin’,” he told Dan Forte in Guitar Player magazine. “Most of the places we lived didn’t have electricity, so that made it rather difficult. . . . We used to have a whole lot of jam sessions with the family in the old days.” Mr. Mack quit school in the sixth grade after fighting with a teacher and soon began professional music engagements in local clubs, eventually changing his last name to Mack. In his teens, he recorded with rockabilly and country bands for small Ohio labels. He was reportedly married and divorced three times. Survivors include five children; two sisters; a brother; eight grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. Discussing his career, Mr. Mack told writer Sean McDevitt in 2007: “I ain’t got no regrets, but at the same time, it ain’t something I would recommend to a young kid right now like I used to. . . . The only way you can make any money is to do what everybody’s telling me I need to go do: Go back out and tour and get the money at the door.” He added, “I mean, you’d better love it. I mean, daggone! Why I got into it in the first place wasn’t about the money. I got into it because I loved it.” In 1963 and early 1964, he recorded a succession of full-length electric guitar instrumentals which combined blues stylism with fast-picking techniques and a rock 'n' roll beat. The best-known of these are "Memphis", "Wham!", and "Chicken Pickin'". These instrumentals established the standard of virtuosity for a generation of rock guitarists[1][2] and formed the leading edge of the "blues-rock" guitar genre. Reportedly, the tremolo arm commonly found on electric guitars became known as the "whammy bar", following Mack's singularly aggressive use of the device in 1963's "Wham!".

In 1979, music historian Richard T. Pinnell, Ph. D., called 1963's "Memphis" a "milestone of early rock guitar". In 1980, the editors of Guitar World magazine ranked "Memphis" first among rock's top five "landmark" guitar recordings. He is widely regarded today as a pivotal historical figure in expanding the role of the electric guitar in rock. Despite a modest all-career recording output as a rock artist, he has been called "one of the great rock guitarists of all-time". Mack is also regarded as one of the finest early "blue-eyed soul" singers. Crediting both Mack's R&B vocals and his guitar solos, music critic Jimmy Guterman ranked Mack's first album, 1963's The Wham of that Memphis Man!, No. 16 in his book The 100 Best Rock 'n' Roll Records of All Time.

Mack released several singles in the '50s and '60s, as well as thirteen original albums spanning a variety of genres between 1963 and 1990. He enjoyed his greatest recognition as a blues-rock singer/guitarist, with productive periods during the '60s and the latter half of the '80s. However, an aversion to notoriety led him to switch musical genres and idle his career as a rock artist for years, even decades, at a time.

In 2011, he announced an upcoming self-published album of informally recorded compositions, including the recently released acoustic blues single "The Times Ain't Right".

Beyond his career as a solo artist, Mack recorded with The Doors, Stevie Ray Vaughan, James Brown, Freddie King, Joe Simon, Ronnie Hawkins, Albert Collins, Roy Buchanan, Dobie Gray and the sons of blues legend Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, among others.