March 15 – 21st Birthdays
March 15 – 21st Birthdays. This week features Lightnin’ Hopkins, Ry Cooder, Michael Bruce, Paul Kantner, Scott Gorham, Wilson Pickett, Clarence Henry, Sister Rosetta Tharpe. As well as Marcia Ball, Jimmie Vaughan, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Otis Spann, and Marcia Ball, Jimmie Vaughan, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Otis Spann!
Lightnin’ Hopkins – 3/15/1912
Texas blues musician known for his distinctive and confident talking style of singing. As well as his masterful skills as a guitarist. The country blues icon is a guitarist in a league wholly his own. As his unique finger picking style could cover lead, rhythm, and bass guitar, as well as percussion. Hopkins begins recording in 1946. But it’s not until folklorist Mack McCormick brings the bluesman to the folk revival that he gains widespread recognition.
After his rediscovery, Lightnin’ Hopkins tours both within the United States and internationally. In addition to his touring, the bluesman vigorously records new music, and would often release numerous albums a year. “Mojo Hand”, “Katie Mae”, “Baby Please Don’t Go”, “Coffee Blues”, and “Lightnin’ s Boogie” are but a handful of the influential. And cherished songs that this blues icon left behind.
Ryland “Ry” Cooder – 3/15/1947
Californian singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, film scorer, and producer who is known for his powerful lyrics, dexterous slide guitar skills. An acclaimed eclectic style that gleefully melds the likes of blues, soul, gospel, rock, folk, Latin, and world music. Since his musical career began in 1967, he has worked with the likes of Taj Mahal, Bob Dylan. Along with The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Captain Beefheart, John Hiatt, Van Morrison, and Eric Clapton.
He has also collaborated extensively with musicians from around the globe, such as Indian Mohan Veena player V.M. Bhatt and Malian guitarist Ali Farka Toure. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including six Grammy Awards, and his best-known album is 1997’s Buena Vista Social Club, which saw him team with Cuban bandleader Juan de Marcos Gonzalez.
Michael Bruce – 3/16/1948
Michael Bruce is a founding member, rhythm guitarist, pianist and keyboard player, and singer of lead and backing vocals in the original Alice Cooper group. He co-wrote many of the group’s hit songs, with some or all of the other members of the group.
Paul Kantner – 3/17/1941
Is an American rock musician. He’s best known as the co-founder, rhythm guitarist, and occasional vocalist of Jefferson Airplane, a leading psychedelic rock band of the counterculture era. He continued these roles as a member of Jefferson Starship, Jefferson Airplane’s successor band.
Scott Gorham – 3/17/1951
An American guitarist and songwriter who is one of the “twin lead guitarists” for the Irish rock band Thin Lizzy. Although not a founding member of Thin Lizzy, he serves a continuous membership after passing an audition in 1974, joining the band at a time when the band’s future is in doubt after the departures of original guitarist Eric Bell and his brief replacement Gary Moore. Gorham remains with Thin Lizzy until the band’s breakup in 1984.
Wilson Pickett – 3/18/1941
Wilson Pickett is an American singer and songwriter. Also, a major figure in developing American soul music. Pickett recorded over 50 songs which makes the US R&B charts, many of which crosses over to the Billboard Hot 100. Among his best-known hits are “In the Midnight Hour”, “Land of 1,000 Dances”, “Mustang Sally”, and “Funky Broadway”.
Clarence “Frogman” Henry – 3/19/1937
known as Clarence “Frogman” Henry, is an American rhythm and blues singer and pianist, best known for his hits “Ain’t Got No Home” (1956) and “(I Don’t Know Why) But I Do” (1961). Henry opened eighteen concerts for the Beatles across the US and Canada in 1964, but his main source of income came from the Bourbon Street strip in New Orleans, where he played for nineteen years.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe – 3/20/1915
Influential singer, songwriter, and guitarist credited for being one of the first gospel musicians to achieve crossover into mainstream music. Her mixture of gospel, soul, blues, folk, and R&B came together to form her signature style that has been recognized as an early form of rock and roll. Her music had a profound influence on the likes of Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Aretha Franklin, and Elvis Presley.
Marcia Ball – 3/20/1949
Born in Texas and raised in Louisiana, this acclaimed singer-songwriter and pianist has received numerous awards for not only her vocal abilities, but for her masterful keyboard skills as well. She has been praised for blending blues styles from both Louisiana and Texas to create her own unique sound. When it comes to her instrument of choice, she has brought elements of boogie-woogie, swamp blues, and zydeco to her piano playing. She has and continues to work with legendary New Orleans soul singer Irma Thomas, who is her primary influence as a vocalist.
Jimmie Vaughan – 3/20/1951
Often overshadowed by his late, younger brother Stevie. This blues rock guitarist and singer helps put the gritty and electrified blues of Texas on the map. Beginning his career in the late 60s, in 1974, he co-founded The Fabulous Thunderbirds. With whom he would remain lead guitarist for until his departure in 1989.The following year he records the album Family Style with his brother, which releases after the tragic death of younger sibling. In 1994, he begins a full-fledged solo career starting with the album Strange Pleasure and remains active to this day.
Lee “Scratch” Perry – 3/20/1936
Perry is a pioneer in the 1970s development of dub music with his early adoption of remixing and studio effects to create new instrumental or vocal versions of existing reggae tracks. His work includes producing for a wide variety of artists, including Bob Marley and the Wailers, Junior Murvin, the Congos, Max Romeo, Adrian Sherwood, the Beastie Boys, Ari Up, the Clash, the Orb, and many others.
Otis Spann – 3/21/1930
An integral member of the nonpareil Muddy Waters band of the 1950s and ’60s, pianist Otis Spann took his sweet time in launching a full-fledged solo career. But his own discography is a satisfying one…
Son House – 3/21/1902
As a musician that not only lived and played with legends, but also influences them. Son House is quite possibly the most important bluesman to roam this earth. At the age of twenty-five, House leaves behind the life of a pastor for the life of a traveling musician. Later in the late 20’s he met and partnered with fellow legend Charley Patton. His frighteningly intense gospel blues style and adept slide guitar skills were first recorded in 1930 by Paramount Records.
Then again in the early 40’s by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress, after which he vanished. House is “rediscovered” in 1964, and after years of inactivity. Due to Alan Wilson (Canned Heat) teaching Son House how to play his own material once again.
The audiences of the blues and folk revival are ecstatic to have the chance to see the Son House. Let alone see him perform and the seasoned bluesman not only tours the U.S. and Europe as well. Actively touring and recording until ill health makes either impossible or retires once more in 1974.
Keeping the Blues Alive
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