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November 15 – 22nd – Birthdays!

November 15 – 22nd – Birthdays! This week includes: “W.C.” Handy, Hubert Sumlin, Chris Layton, Tab Benoit, Hank Ballard, Charlie Coe, Duane Allman, Dr. John, and Steven Van Zandt.

“W.C.” Handy – 11/16/1873 

Known as the “Father of the Blues”, he was a composer, songwriter, bandleader, and author who, adept with several different instruments, had a major role in the development and popularization of blues music. In his travels of the United States, which sees him study various musical styles and musicians.

He gains inspiration for such songs as “Beale Street Blues”, “Yellow Dog Blues”, “Saint Louis Blues”. And more which he’s releasing from his own publishing companies.  While not the first to perform the “blues” he gets credit for giving the genre its contemporary form. 

Hubert Sumlin – 11/ 16/1931 

Chicago blues guitarist Hubert Sumlin starts playing guitar at eight years old in church. By his teens, he is playing in a blues band with his friend James Cotton. Afterwards, he becomes a protégé of the legendary Howlin’ Wolf for more than two decades.

Also, he becomes Wolf’s lead guitarist from 1954 up until his death in 1976. Sumlin’s greatest contributions to Wolf’s catalog is “Killing Floor”, “Smokestack Lightning” and “Shake for me” for the Chess record label.

Chris “Whipper” Layton – 11/16/55 

Chris Layton is an American drummer and also a founding members of Double Trouble, a band led by Stevie Ray Vaughan. Along with his band mates Tommy Shannon and Reese Wynans, Double Trouble recorded and performed with Vaughan until his death.

Layton and Shannon later form super-groups such as the “Arc Angels”, “Storyville”, and “Grady”. Furthermore, Layton is the drummer for the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band. 

Tab Benoit – 11/17/1967 

American blues Musician Tab Benoit is born in Houma, Louisiana. As a teenager, he picks up the guitar and starts to play at blues clubs in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Soon after, he began jamming alongside Tabby Thomas, Henry Gray, and Raful Neal and goes on to collaborate with Charlie Musselwhite, Anders Osbourne, and the Double Trouble rhythm section.

His musical style is a blend of delta, soul and swampy bayou blues mixed with some whiskey-soaked vocals. Later he wins several Blues Music Awards, including a two-time winner of the esteemed B.B. King Entertainer of the Year award. Benoit writes his own compositions and plays a Fender Telecaster Thinline electric guitar. 

Hank Ballard  – 11/18/1927

Hank Ballard, a rhythm and blues singer and songwriter, the lead vocalist of The Midnighters and one of the first rock and roll artists to emerge in the early 1950s. He plays an integral part in the development of the genre, releasing the hit singles “Work With Me, Annie” and answer songs “Annie Had a Baby” and “Annie’s Aunt Fannie” with his Midnighters. Later writing and originally recording “The Twist” which is notably covered a year later by Chubby Checker.

Charlie Coe – November 19, 1944

 An American rock bassist for the band “Paul Revere & the Raiders”. A band that sees considerable U.S. mainstream success in the second half of the 1960s and early 1970s. Playing lead guitar (1963), bass guitar (1967–1968).

Duane Allman – 11/20/1946

Before his untimely death at the age of 24, this renowned guitarist, praised for his exceptional slide skills, co-founded, and lead the Allman Brothers Band, a major figure in blues rock, Southern rock, and the developing jam band scene.

Prior to his time with the band, he worked as a highly sought-after session musician, who worked with Aretha Franklin, King Curtis, and Wilson Pickett. His session work would eventually catch the attention of Eric Clapton, and the two would become close friends during the recording of Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.

Dr. John – 11/21/1940

This native New Orleans pianist, singer and songwriter works as a session’s musician for the likes of Canned Heat. As well as Frank Zappa before gaining popularity with his 1968 debut Gris-Gris. His unique musical style gathers elements of funk, jazz, blues, rock, R&B, zydeco, and psychedelic music. With his eclectic sound, his persona and stage show rife with Mardi Gras and voodoo inspirations which makes him an unforgettable artist.

 Steven Van Zandt – 11/22/1950

Steven Van Zandt, known as Little Steven or Miami Steve, is an American singer, songwriter, musician, producer, actor, and activist. He is best known as a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, in which he plays guitar and mandolin.

He is also known for his roles on television drama series, such as Silvio Dante on The Sopranos and Frank Tagliano on Lilyhammer. Van Zandt has his own solo band called Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul, active on and off since the 1980s.

That’s it for this weeks birthday’s – November 15 – 22nd!

Keeping the Blues Alive 

November 15 – 22nd -Birthdays! To learn more or donate to Keeping The Blues Alive, visit our website at

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