Blues Birthdays: April 29 – May 5th
This week’s blues birthdays feature musicians Marion “Little Walter” Jacobs, Freddie Roulette, Blind Willie McTell and Johnnie Taylor!
Marion “Little Walter” Jacobs: May 1, 1930
Marion Jacobs is considered one of the best blues harmonica players around. He was born in the south and migrated to the blues haven known as Chicago. There he collaborated with and learned from all of the best musicians of the day. This is where he honed his own harp skills. He has added his sweet sounds to many great blues albums of the day. During this time, he was a sought-after musician for several labels. His career was cut short due to injuries from an altercation. But his legacy is undeniable.
In 2008, he was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the only harmonica player ever inducted!
Freddie Roulette: May 3, 1939
Freddie Roulette was born in Illinois, outside of Chicago, so he didn’t have to travel far to discover great blues music. He began playing guitar as a teenager. After perfecting his guitar skills, he quickly shifted was playing the clubs and working with Earl Hooker.
He transitioned into playing the lap steel guitar and became a force to be reckoned with. This landed him a successful touring stint with harmonica great Charlie Musselwhite. With whom he recorded and performed with for years. At 78, Roulette continues to play with his band Daphne Blue and performing at various festivals.
Blind Willie McTell: May 5, 1898
Willie McTell was a prominent early-era Piedmont blues guitarist. He had “smooth, laid-back tenor voice” and beautiful fingerstyle guitar playing. This type of playing was a stark contrast to the Delta blues which was the popular style of the day.
Willie would play on the streets of Atlanta, performing for whoever would listen. He recorded for several labels such as Atlantic and Regal Records. Lastly, he wrote many songs that became known as blues classics decades later.
McTell was a huge influence some of our favorite artists like the Allman Brothers, Bob Dylan, Taj Mahal, and many others.
Johnnie Taylor: May 5, 1934
Johnnie Taylor is a three-time Grammy-nominated American recording artist and songwriter who performed a wide variety of genres. Whether it’s the blues, soul, gospel, pop, doo-wop, and disco. He is one of the most passionate and captivating singers of his era.
He has recorded with well-known record companies like Stax, Columbia, and Malaco Records. He is known as The Stax billed Johnnie Taylor as “The Philosopher of Soul” and was also known as “the Blues Wailer”.
Keeping the Blues Alive
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