Blues News

April 26th – May 2nd – Birthdays!

April 26th – May 2nd – Birthdays

April 26th – May 2nd – Birthdays! Celebrating birthdays this week includes: J.B. Hutton, Ma Rainey, Ace Frehley, Chuck Leavell, Willie Nelson, Otis Rush, Blind Gary Davis. As well as Little Walter, and Link Wray!  

J.B. Hutto – 4/26/1926

A slide guitarist whose singing and showmanship leads variations of his band, the Hawks through the 50’s to the 80’s. After Hound Dog Taylor dies in 1975, Hutto takes over leadership of the departed guitarist’s band the House rockers. For a period of time.

Ma Rainey – 4/26/1886

Billed as “The Mother of the Blues”, she is an influential and powerful vocalist. She’s one of the early documented professional blues singers. She is one of the most popular artists of that decade with over 100 recordings.

Her most cherished pieces include “Bo-Weavil Blues”, “Moonshine Blues”, and the enduring classic “See See Rider”. The last of which has been preserved in the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress.

Ace Frehley – 4/27/1951

An American musician and songwriter and the original lead guitarist and co-founding member of the rock band Kiss. During this time, he invents the persona of “The Spaceman and plays with the group from its inception in 1973. Until his departure in 1982. 

Frehley embarks on a solo career. Which he puts on hold as he rejoins Kiss in 1996 for a reunion tour.  Frehley stays with Kiss until 2002. “Guitar World” Magazine ranks him as the 14th “Greatest Metal Guitarist of All Time.” 

Chuck Leavell – 4/28/1952

Chuck Leavell is one busy musician! Furthermore, he has been playing professional keyboards since 1969 and shows no signs of letting up now. Growing up in Alabama, where he met a lot of musicians who invited him to jam and join various bands. His career takes off in the early 70’s when he’s playing with Dr. John’s band. While performing with Dr. John, Leavell is introduced to the legendary bluesman Gregg Allman.

Allman asked Leavell to add keys to the tune “Jessica” in order to recreate the sound of the guitar. Due to the passing of Duane Allman. Leavell goes on to record on four Allman Brothers albums and become a welcomed addition to the group.  Chuck Leavell is featured on 12 Rolling Stones albums, including their most recent Grammy winning album “Blue and Lonesome”.

Willie Nelson – 4/29/1933

Universally acclaimed as a singer and songwriter. While playing every small-town bar and large venue he’s came across. Going against the grain, some critics call him a “country music outlaw.” Sure, it’s has hurt his career at times.

But he’s doing something right because his music career is still going strong! He wrote for the song “Crazy” for Patsy Cline who makes it into a hit. Lastly, he starts “Farm Aid” in 1985, which is still going strong today! And he’s the most recognizable artist in country music.

Otis Rush – 4/29/1934

Born in Mississippi and raised in “The Windy City” this guitarist, singer, and songwriter held a distinctive slow burning style. That utilizes lengthy bends and upside-down guitars, which becomes known as West Side Chicago Blues. With such classics as “I Can’t Quit You Baby”, “Double Trouble” and “All Your Love (I Miss Loving)”.

Furthermore, he helps to put the blues of Chicago on the map. Influencing such artists as John Lee Hooker, John Mayall, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, Peter Green. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble.

Blind Gary Davis – 4/30/1896 

A skilled Piedmont blues guitarist and singer whose style shifts largely to gospel blues after he converts to Christianity. And becomes an ordained minister. During this time, he emerges as one of the most popular musicians to arise from the folk revival in the 60’s. Some of his popular recordings are “You Got to Move”, “Twelve Gates to the City”, “The haunting” and “Death Don’t Have No Mercy”.

Little Walter – 5/1/1930

Regarded as “The King of all Post-War blues harp players.” This musical virtuoso likes to push the boundaries of the harmonica. Going forward, he receives the credit for much of the instrument’s modern vocabulary.

Furthermore, Little Walter makes a name for himself in Muddy Waters’ band before rising to prominence with his own career. Going forward, Little Walter influences the likes of Junior Wells, James Cotton, Charlie Musselwhite, Paul Butterfield, and John Popper.

Link Wray – 5/2/1929 

An American rock and roll guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist who became popular in the late 1950s. Rolling Stone placed Wray at No. 45 of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. In 2013 and 2017 he was a nominee for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Though he began in country music, his musical style went on to consist primarily of rock and roll, rockabilly, and instrumental rock.

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