April 13 – April 19 Birthdays
April 13 – April 19. This week’s music birthdays are Ritchie Blackmore, John Bell, Bessie Smith, Tommy Castro, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown and Alexis Korner! Check back next week!
Ritchie Blackmore: 4/14/1945
English multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and bandleader who co-founded the highly influential hard-rock and -pioneering heavy metal band Deep Purple. After eight years and nine albums, Blackmore departs in 1975 to record as a solo artist.
He proceeds to dissect the boogie rock outfit Elf to form Rainbow, another heavy metal project that lasts until 1984. He spends the next twelve years with reunions with both Deep Purple and Rainbow before forming Blackmore’s Night. Magazines such as Rolling Stone and Guitar World continue to highly rank Blackmore on their list of all-time guitarists.
John Bell: 4/14/1962
Lead singer, rhythm guitarist, and lyricist of the Southern rock band Widespread Panic. Which is a major figure in the jam band scene since he founded the band in the 80’s. Over the decades, Bell has lent his unique vocals to the covers of such artists as Robert Johnson. Also, Sonny Boy Williamson I, Tom Waits, Howlin’ Wolf, JJ Cale, Blind Willie Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, and Taj Mahal.
Bessie Smith: 4/15/1894
One of the first blues singers to be recorded and the most popular blues vocalist of the 20’s and 30’s. With her powerful voice, inspiring songs and outstanding showmanship, she became the highest paid African-American entertainer of her day. Furthermore, she earns herself the title of “The Empress of the Blues”.
Her recordings of “Downhearted Blues”, “Baby Won’t You Please Come Home”, “Careless Love Blues”. While her song “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out” inspires Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, and Janis Joplin.
Tommy Castro: 4/15/1955
Celebrated guitarist, singer-songwriter, and bandleader who emerges out of the San Francisco Bay Area blues scene in the 80’s. Putting together his own bands in the 90’s, with his mixture of soul, R&B and blues caught the public’s eye. Which also includes legends such as B.B. King and John Lee Hooker as well. To date, he’s been awarded six Blues Music Awards, four of which he receives for his 2009 album Hard Believer.
Patrick Carney: 4/15/1980
A founding member, co-lyricist, and drummer of the blues and garage rock duo The Black Keys. Carney draws his inspiration from famed hill country blues musicians Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside. In addition to his popular duo, Carney also produces and forms the modern super-group “Drummer”. Whose members are all drummers for other groups. In 2013, Carney joins the oft-changing lineup of “The Rentals” and contributes drums and percussion to the band’s third album.
Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown: 4/18/1924
Eclectic Louisiana-born, Texas-raised multi-instrumentalist, known for skills as a guitarist and even more so with the violin. Furthermore, he performs in nearly every genre of roots music imaginable. With a prestigious musical career that begin in the late 40’s and continues until his death in 2005. He’s played Texas blues, rock & roll, jazz, country, R&B, folk, and Cajun music.
He’s been recognized as one of the most influential blues fiddlers of all time. In the 70’s he’s an official American musical ambassador for the U.S. State Department and tour Europe and Africa. The Blues Hall of Fame inducts Brown in 1999, and he receives eight Blues Music Awards in his lifetime. As well as a Grammy for his 1983 comeback album, Alright Again!
Alexis Korner: 4/19/28
With a love of American blues, this multi-instrumentalist begins to perform the genre in mid-50s London. Also, he brings American artists to the UK. In 1961, he forms “Blues Incorporated”, which includes many up and coming artists, such as Jack Bruce and Charlie Watts.
Meanwhile, they perform for crowds with the likes of Keith Richards, Rod Stewart and John Mayall in them. While he never achieves that fame of those he helped inspire. Korner continues to record and spread the wonder of the blues until his death. Furthermore, he’s known as “The Father of British Blues”.
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