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Today In Blues - May 1

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  • Junior Jackson
    On this 1st day of May in 1924 Blues and R&B vocalist Big Maybelle was born Maybelle Louise Smith in Jackson, TN. Maybelle was one of R&B`s premier stars in
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 30, 2006
      On this 1st day of May in 1924 Blues and R&B vocalist Big Maybelle was
      born Maybelle Louise Smith in Jackson, TN. Maybelle was one of R&B`s
      premier stars in the 50s, scoring many hits from 1953 to `58. She
      persevered through the 60s but drug and alcohol abuse and diabetes
      caught up with her and she died in 1972 at age 47.

      Chicago harmonica legend Little Walter was born Marion Walter Jacobs on
      this day in 1930 in Markville, LA. Revered by harp players and fans
      alike, and arguably the king of the Blues harmonica, his emergence as a
      young harp player in the early 50s helped change the course of Chicago
      Blues. Walter was among the first, and certainly the most gifted, harp
      payers to amplify his harp, and brought beatuiful, full, flowing, almost
      jazz-like solos and deep response and rhythm riffs to the Blues
      harmonica. Walter left his rural Louisiana home at age 12 and fared for
      himself in New Orleans, slowly making his way north with prolonged stops
      in Helena, AR, (where he met and played with Rice Miller, later known as
      Sonny Boy Williamson (2), and Memphis, St.Louis and finally Chicago in
      1946. (where he met and played with John Lee Williamsom, the real "Sonny
      Boy".) When Little Walter joined forces with Muddy Waters, there was a
      musical earthquake in Chicago, the tremors of which are still being felt
      today. Little Walter scored his first solo hit in 1954 with the
      instrumental "Juke", recorded after a Muddy Waters session at Chess with
      the same band. Walter then left Waters for a solo career, althought he
      remained Muddy`s studio harmonica player for a few years. Walter had 14
      top ten hits in the 50s, but the 60s led him down a drug and alcohol
      induced spiraling path. He died in his sleep in 1967 from head injuries
      incured during a street fight. For anyone who does not have any of this
      harp masters rcordings, I highly recomend "The Essential Little Walter"
      on Chess/MCA.

      Guitarist Lucky Lopez (JSP Records) was born on this day in 1937 in East
      Estabuchie, MS.

      The "Father Of The Delta Blues", Charley Patton, was born in early May,
      possibly today, in or around 1891 in Herron`s Place, MS. Patton`s songs
      are still being covered by modern Blues players over 70 years after his
      death. He was a major influence on Son House, Robert Johnson, Howlin`
      Wolf and Muddy Waters. (See TIB, April 28)

      Guitarist Smokey Hogg died on this day in 1960 in McKinney, TX. Hogg was
      a rural Bluesman in an R&B world of the 50s, but he managed to amass a
      large output of recordings, along with a few hits, during that time.
      Smokey began his career with the Texas slide guitarist Black Ace in the
      30s. Except for a lone session in 1937, Hogg didn`t start his own
      recording career untill 1947. Much of his recorded work is available on

      On this day in 1923, The Fletcher Henderson Orchestra recorded "Beale
      Street Mama" for Paramount Records in New York City.

      On this day in 1926, Clara Smith recorded "Look Where The Sun Done Gone"
      and "Rock, Church, Rock" for Columbia Records in New York City.

      On this day in 1929, Cow Cow Davenport recorded "Back In The Alley" for
      Vocalion in Chicago.

      On this day in 1966, "Soul Limbo" a Stax single by Booker T. & The MG's
      was released.

      Visit the "Bluesville" e-group at
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