Keeping The Blues Alive

Blues Birthdays: September 9 – 15

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Otis Redding: 9/9/1941

“The Big O,” “The Man From Macron,” “Rockhouse Redding,” and “The King Of Soul.” It’s hard to imagine that someone who lived only until he was 26 could warrant so many nicknames. Otis Redding was one of the most popular soul and RnB singers in the 60’s and his still “considered one of the greatest singers in the history of popular music. He wrote and recorded one of the most famous songs in history “Sittin’ On The Dock of The Bay” shorty before a fatal plane crash in 1967. Redding’s influence spans several generations and genres and will always have a place in our hearts!



Robert Hicks AKA Barbecue Bob: 9/11/1902

One of the early Piedmont blues guitarists and vocalists who helped to pioneer the genre and influence the next generation of musicians. Hicks was born in a small town in Georgia where his parents were farmers. A friend and later fellow blues musician Curly Weaver’s mother taught them both how to play the guitar. Hicks gained his nickname “Barbeque Bob” from working as a line cook in a local restaurant and the name stayed with him as a musician. Although his music career was short, he was still able to record 68 different tracks and develop the “frailing style of guitar playing that is associated with claw hammer on the banjo.” Sadly, he passed away in 1931 at the age of 29 due to tuberculosis.



Gustavus “Gus” Cannon: 09/12/1883 or 1884

An early pioneer and banjo player within the ‘jug’ era. Because of record issues, there is some confusion surrounding the exact year of his birth. He grew up in Mississippi where he self-taught himself how to play the banjo. At the age of fifteen, he decided to leave home and began playing music for anyone that would listen at sawmills and other various locations. Cannon also played an important part in popularizing jug bands. Jug band music utilizes homemade and normal instruments like washboard, spoons, etc. His band “Jug Stompers” recorded a few albums and were a widely known band in the area. Unlike many other musicians, Cannon lived a very long life, surviving until the age of 96!



Charles Brown: 9/13/1922

One of the most respected and influential blues pianists in history. Born Tony Russell Brown, he was born in Texas where he began playing classical piano as a young child. After going to college and working a few jobs, he decided to move to Los Angeles to follow his musical dreams. Brown was greatly inspired by the light-touch playing style of Nat King Cole. His relaxed feel and “slow-paced blues-club style influence blues performance in the 40’s and 50’s.” [Photograph by Joseph A. Rosen]
Paul Kossoff: 9/14/1950
Late English guitarist and songwriter who is easily one of the most cherished and tragic musicians to emerge from the British blues rock scene of the late 60’s. After forming his first band Black Cat Bones and recording with Champion Jack Dupree, the young guitarist co-founded and achieved fame with the popular hard rock act Free. With his sublime tone, use of vibrato, and deceptively simply riffs, Kossoff was a key component to the sound and success of the band. Unfortunately, his addictions contributed both to Free’s breakup and the drastic decline of his health. He released a solo album in 1973 and formed a band in 1975 (both named Back Street Crawler), but his drug abuse lead to a fatal heart-attack in March of 1976. 
Snooky Pryor: 9/15/1921
Pioneering Chicago blues harmonica player and vocalist who claimed to have been the very first person to ever amplify his instrument of choice. He recorded his exemplary harmonica focused blues throughout the late 40’s and 50’s. After retiring for a number of years, he released a successful comeback album in the late 80’s with Blind Pig Records and enjoyed a successful career until he passed away in 2006.


Patrick Ortiz


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