May 3rd – 9th – Birthdays. Celebrating Birthdays include Freddie Roulette, Blind Willie McTell, Dick Dale, Johnny Taylor, Amos “Bumble Bee Slim” Easton, Robert Johnson. Also, Bob Seger, Joe Bonamassa and Steve Katz!
Freddie Roulette – May 3, 1939
Freddie Roulette is born in Illinois, outside of Chicago, so he didn’t travel far to discover great blues music. He began playing guitar as a teenager. After perfecting his guitar skills, he quickly shifts to playing the clubs and working with Earl Hooker. He transitions into playing the lap steel guitar and becomes a force to reckon with.
This lands him a successful touring stint with harmonica great Charlie Musselwhite. With whom he records and performs with for years. At 78, Roulette continues to play with his band Daphne Blue and performing at various festivals.
Dick Dale – May 04, 1937
Hailing from California, Dick Dale aka the King of Surf Guitar virtually galvanized the surf rock sound in the 1950s. Dale and his band, ‘Dick Dale and the Del-Tones’, make appearances in several of “Beach Party” teen flicks. A southpaw guitar player that plays a right-handed guitar flipped upside down. Lastly, his guitar playing is so fast and hard that Guitar maker Leo Fender even customizes Mr. Dale’s amplifiers.
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 is 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. Also, a songwriter who performs a wide variety of genres. Whether it’s the blues, soul, gospel, pop, doo-wop, and disco. Furthermore, he’s one of the most passionate and captivating singers of his era. Recording with labels like Stax, Columbia, and Malaco Records. Stax gives Johnnie Taylor the moniker of “The Philosopher of Soul” and also “the Blues Wailer”.
Bob Seger – May 6, 1945
An American singer, songwriter, and musician. As a locally successful Detroit-area artist, he performs and records Bob Seger and the Last Heard. Later as Bob Seger System throughout the 1960s, breaking through with his first album, Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man in 1968. By the 1970s, he drops the ‘System’ from his recordings to strive for broader success with various other bands.
In 1973, he puts together the Silver Bullet Band, with a group of Detroit-area musicians. This collective is the most successful on the national level with the album Live Bullet. Later he records live with the Silver Bullet Band in 1975 at Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan. In 1976, he achieves a national breakout with the studio album Night Moves.
On his studio albums, he also worked extensively with the Alabama-based Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. Which appears on several of Seger’s best-selling singles and albums.
Amos “Bumble Bee Slim” Easton – 5/7/1905
Amos Easton is born in Brunswick, Georgia, and after a stint in the Ringling Brother’s circus, he settles on Chicago. Under the name “Bumble Bee Slim” he writes and records over 150 tunes for various labels. Although he’s a great Piedmont Blues guitar player, doesn’t like being bothered too much by his record labels. As a result, he returns to playing in bars again.
Robert Johnson – 5/8/1911
An American blues singer, songwriter, and musician. Displaying his talent with his landmark recordings in 1936 and 1937. Which features a combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent. With his musical catalog he influences future generations of Blues musicians.
Joe Bonamassa – 5/8/1977
There are a few saving graces that are keeping Blues music alive and well. A professional musician since age twelve, Joe explodes on the scene alongside B.B. King. With No signs of slowing down, he’s a human bullet train of the blues releasing multiple albums per year and constantly touring.
As a champion of music education, Bonamassa starts “Keeping The Blues Alive Foundation”. The organization puts on a yearly blues cruise which features upcoming music acts in the blues, Americana, and beyond. Bonamassa embodies a rare gem in the music world. After years of hard work, he is one of the most successful blues musicians on the scene! Happy Birthday Joe!
Steve Katz – 5/9/1945
American rock guitarist, singer, and record producer who is best known as a member of the rock-pop-jazz group Blood, Sweat & Tears. Katz is an original member of the rock bands The Blues Project and American Flyer.
He’s also a producer, and his credits include the 1979 album “Short Stories, Tall Tales” for the Irish band Horslips. Other projects include the Lou Reed albums, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal” and “Sally Can’t Dance” and the Elliott Murphy album.
May 3rd – 9th – Birthdays. Be sure to check back next week!
Help us with our mission of Keeping the Blues Alive in schools!
To learn more or donate to Keeping The Blues Alive, visit our website at https://keepingthebluesalive.org/