Grammy Award winning artist Willie “Big Eyes” Smith passed away today, September 16, 2011. He was 75. Exceptionally talented, he played harmonica, guitar, sang and was a renowned drummer. He was the drummer for Muddy Waters band, and was the drummer on every Grammy award-winning album by Muddy Waters. His most recent Grammy was this year when he, along with Pinetop Perkins were awarded the Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album. His list of accomplishments is huge. He was the harmonica player on Bo Diddly‘s hit “Diddy Wah Diddy”. He formed and was an integral part of “The Legendary Blues Band“. This band backed up John Lee Hooker in the movie “The Blues Brothers” and toured with Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. An astounding career without a doubt.
The first video is a 2006 live performance featuring Willie, the second celebrates the lives of Willie Smith and the late Pinetop Perkins, with some interviews and some playing. The playing part is very cool as it was done when Pinetop was 100 years old. Amazing.
Blues great and Grammy winner, David “Honeyboy” Edwards passed away on August 29 of heart failure. He was 96. He was a friend of, and played with legendary Robert Johnson and was with him the night he died. His story of that night became the definitive version of what happened. He describes his life as blues performer in this quote from “Deep Blues” by Robert Palmer.
“On Saturday, somebody like me or Robert Johnson would go into one of these little towns, play for nickels and dimes. And sometimes, you know, you could be playin’ and have such a big crowd that it would block the whole street. Then the police would come around, and then I’d go to another town and where I could play at. But most of the time, they would let you play. Then sometimes the man who owned a country store would give us something like a couple of dollars to play on a Saturday afternoon. We could hitchhike, transfer from truck to truck, or if we couldn’t catch one of them, we’d go to the train yard, ’cause the railroad was all through that part of the country then…we might hop a freight, go to St Louis or Chicago. Or we might hear about where a job was paying off – a highway crew, a railroad job, a levee camp there along the river, or some place in the country where a lot of people were workin’ on a farm. You could go there and play and everybody would hand you some money. I didn’t have a special place then. Anywhere was home. Where I do good, I stay. When it gets bad and dull, I’m gone.”
Edwards was still touring well into his 90′s, actually only retiring in July of 2011. A chapter in Blues history just closed.
The first video is his classic “Gambling Man”, the second is live 2009 (he was 94) version of Sweet Home Chicago).
- Blues great David “Honeyboy” Edwards dead at 96 (chicagoreader.com)
- David ‘Honeyboy’ Edwards, Legendary Delta Bluesman, Dead at 96 (spinner.com)
- David “Honeyboy” Edwards, last to play the blues with Robert Johnson, dies at 96 (cbsnews.com)
A different like (for me anyway). Jill Barber is a Canadian songstress out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. A very folk/bluegrass style with country overtones, she released her 4th album, “Chances” in 2008, which the attached video is from. The song is “Oh My My” and showcases her considerable talent. She has a new album out “Mischievous Moon”, and I am guilty of not hearing much of it as yet. I will make a point of checking it out in the next week or two. In the meantime, enjoy.
Joss Stone has released a new album called LP1. Just purchased it and wanted to share. After dabbling out of her zone with “Introducing Joss Stone” (her preceding album, which I enjoyed as well), she has moved back into her wheelhouse with a bit more bluesy, rocking style. The songs are growing on me and I am really starting to enjoy. The clip I have attached is “Karma” and was done live on Leno. Note the guitar player, Dave Stewart of Eurythmics fame. He collaborated with Joss Stone on this album. He is, or has, created a new entity called SuperHeavy with himself, Mick Jagger and Joss Stone, but that will be another story.
A life led tragically. Amy Winehouse joins an elite group of musical superstars who have passed away at 27. This magical list includes, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Brian Jones and Janis Joplin. All coincidences aside, Amy was a potential icon. When we first discovered her she had just released her second album “Back to Black”. We were stunned and immediately went and got “Frank“, her first disc. Incredible. We did some research and discovered she was being backed up by some great players we already knew, The Dap Kings of Sharon Jones fame, which explained the great sound behind her on several songs. Instant love it was. Fabulous potential in this one. But, as happens so often, the lifestyle caught up with her, and some cannot handle it. It took her away from us several years ago and has now taken her permanently. Say what you want, but I will sorely miss her voice and talent, the rest, not so much.
The first is to a blog I follow, the second is to Th Daily Mail which gives some insight on how she died and the third is a link to her last concert where she was booed offstage. The video is one of my favourites by her “In My Bed”
Jeremy Fisher, from Hamilton, Ontario, is gaining a substantial following in North America. His Tour in 2002 gained notoriety as he completed it across Canada by bicycle. It took 6 months, starting in Seattle, USA and ended 7500 KM away in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Amazing. He has toured with such notables as Xavier Rudd, Sarah Slean and The Proclaimers. The track I have chosen to share is “Shine a Little Light” off his 2010 album “Flood” I chose this both for the music and the ingenious use of an iPhone in creating the video.
- The Popdose Interview: Jeremy Fisher (popdose.com)
Joe Lee Wilson passed away on July 17. An accomplished jazz and blues singer, he sang with many fabulous singers in his time. These included Sonny Rollins, Sarah Vaughn, Miles Davis and Pharaoh Sanders.
He was inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in 2010 which is where the video below was recorded.