March 22nd to 28th – Birthdays. This week’s birthdays include Keith Relf, George Benson, Carol Kaye, Jeff Healey, Rufus Thomas, Robert Lockwood, John Evan, Bobby Kimball. As well as Michael Brecker!
Keith Relf – March 22, 1943
Keith Relf is a multi-instrumentalist and the lead singer and harmonica player in the pivotal British blues band The Yardbirds. A band with some of the most recognizable names in blues-rock history including Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, and Eric Clapton. Next, he stays with band until they break up in 1968.
Afterwards, he’s in a few projects, but nothing that really takes off like his previous group. Sadly, Relf dies at the age of 33 from an unfortunate electrocution accident in the basement of his home. Posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 along with the other member of the Yardbirds.
George Benson – 3/23/1943
Benson is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Beginning his professional career at the age of 19 as a jazz guitarist this former child prodigy, first came to prominence in the 1960s, playing soul jazz with Jack McDuff and others. Also, in 2009, Benson is recognized by the National Endowment of the Arts as a Jazz Master, the nation’s highest honor in jazz.
Carol Kaye – 3/24/1935
An American musician. She’s one of the most prolific recording bass guitarists in rock and pop music. As well as playing on an estimated 10,000 recordings in a career spanning over 50 years. Furthermore, Brian Wilson even called her the “greatest damn bass player in the world.” Recording with the Beach Boys, Sonny & Cher, Simon & Garfunkel and many more!
Jeff Healey – 3/25/ 1966
Known to play a standard guitar on his legs like a lap steel. Also, he plays with his fingers on the fretboard instead of a slide bar. It’s truly remarkably to see and hear. Healey is first a successful jazz guitarist, “releasing music of traditional American Jazz from the 20’s and 30’s.” However, most remember him for his fiery blues chops. Sharing the stage with some of the most notable bluesmen in the business. Which includes Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, ZZ Top, and many others.
Rufus Thomas – March 26, 1917
You could say that Mr. Rufus Thomas did it all. Because he did! From singer, songwriter, and dancer to comedian and DJ, he is on the scene for about sixty-two years. While being a staple in R&B, soul, funk, and blues. Thomas is known not just as a musician, but an overall performer and talented entertainer. Mainly popular for his “novelty dance records” and putting on a major spectacle every time he took the stage.
He began recording for several major record labels like Chess, and Sun, before settling as a major artist for Stax. Which he starts Recording for in the 60’s. It’s where he would stay until it broke apart in 1976. Rufus Thomas continued to perform and remain active in the music community until he became sick. He always had a good time and was the life of the party, bringing a smile to everyone who met him.
Robert Lockwood, Jr – 3/27/1915
Delta blues guitarist who is known for his tutelage under Robert Johnson. Also, for the skills he showcased upon his iconic twelve-string guitar. With a firm grip on not only the guitar but also the piano, by age of fifteen he is already playing professionally. Over the years he works and collaborates with the likes of B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Little Walter. As well as performing extensively with Sonny Boy Williamson II. He took home his first Grammy Award in 2004 for his performance on Last of the Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen: Live in Dallas, which saw him perform with fellow legends Pinetop Perkins, Henry Townsend, and Honeyboy Edwards.
John Evan – 3/28/1948
An English progressive rock pianist and keyboardist for Jethro Tull from April 1970 to June 1980. Going on to form Tallis with fellow departing Tull member, David Palmer.
Bobby Kimball – 3/29/1947
Bobby Kimball is an American singer and songwriter best known as the original and longtime front man of the rock band Toto from 1977 to 1984 and again from 1998 to 2008. Kimball has also performed as a solo artist and session singer.
Michael Brecker – 3/29/1949
An American jazz saxophonist and composer. He was awarded 15 Grammy Awards as both performer and composer. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Berklee College of Music in 2004, and was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame in 2007.
March 22nd to 28th – Birthdays.
Keeping the Blues Alive
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