The Early Years
Queen Sylvia Embry began playing piano as a child and sang in church choirs, moving to Memphis at 19. In the 60’s she settled in Chicago, where she met and married blues guitarist Johnny Embry. He teaches her to play bass guitar. In the 70’s she works for several years with Lefty Dizz playing bass and singing. She is a featured vocalist with his band in the film “Mississippi Delta Blues”.
American Blues Festival Tours
Most importantly, few women were able to play bass with the exception of Queen Sylvia Embry. Willie Dixon is so impressed with her that he invites her to tour with him. Embry plays Europe to play on the American Blues Festival tours. As a result, because of her bass playing and her expressive, deep-toned Gospel voice, she is a hit in Europe and on the Chicago club circuit. Furthermore, She garners more notoriety when she starts leading her own band.
Fronting her own band
Once she begins fronting her own small band in South Side clubs and making guest appearances on the North Side circuit. Everywhere she went, her big smile, warm stage presence, rich gospel-rooted voice and solid bass playing won her new fans and rave reviews. Finally, at age 39, she makes a record deal with Alligator Records.
The André Hobus is a Belgium-based photographer who these images taken during the 1970s when blues artists who came through Europe in that time frame.
Live video from Germany. 1983. The Friends are: Carey Bell, Jimmy Rogers, Louisiana Red, Sparkey Rucker, Larry Johnson, Charles Otis, Lonnie Pitchford,
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