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Clip: Louisiana Red & David Honeyboy Edwards in Pittsburgh tonight

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  • Carl Z.
    Louisiana Red to play benefit Monday, June 05, 2006 By Nate Guidry, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Louisiana Red is
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 5, 2006

      Louisiana Red to play benefit

      Monday, June 05, 2006
      By Nate Guidry, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

      Louisiana Red is just an old traveling blues musician who loves to
      play his guitar.

      He doesn't know anything about business. He leaves that stuff to his
      wife, who travels with him wherever he goes. Like a tumbleweed adrift,
      Red has oscillated from one town and city to the next.

      On this day, he's in Hanover, Germany, which he has called home for
      the past 23 years. The next day, he's scheduled to perform in Holland.
      The day after that, he and the boys have an engagement in Italy.

      Red, whose real name is Iverson Minter, isn't really from Louisiana,
      although he did spend a hot minute there during his youth. The
      Louisiana moniker comes from his love of hot sauce. Even today he
      drenches everything he eats with the spicy red sauce.

      "You know that crawfish?" he asked from his home in Hanover. "You know
      those oysters? I used to get those oyster sandwiches and oyster balls
      and put a whole bottle of Frank's Hot Sauce on them. Matter of fact, I
      have a bottle right here, and when I get to the States, I'm going to
      get some more bottles."

      Red's childhood was as tough as it gets. A week after his birth in
      Bessemer, Ala., in 1932, his mother died of pneumonia. By the time he
      turned 5, his father was killed, reportedly by the Ku Klux Klan.

      After spending a few years in an orphanage in New Orleans, he moved to
      Pittsburgh to be with his grandmother.

      "My grandmother bought me my first guitar," said Red. "She paid $12 for it."

      Red developed his craft in and around the Hill District.

      "I hung around with Omar Rasheed, Bill Powell and Porky Chedwick and
      other people like that. I went to school with Stanley Turrentine and
      George Benson. But at that time I didn't think I would develop a
      career in music."

      When his grandmother died, he moved to East Liverpool, Ohio.

      "I stayed there a couple of years. Then I moved to New Jersey," he
      said. "I'm just like a tumbleweed or a bouncing ball. I took my guitar
      with me, and I would get little jobs."

      In the 1950s, he settled in Detroit, performing and recording with
      Little Walter, Eddie "Guitar" Burns and John Lee Hooker. In the '60s,
      he recorded "Red's Dream," which sold more than a million copies.
      Still, Red's watershed moment didn't occur until 1975, when he
      performed at the Montreaux Jazz Festival.

      In 1983, Red went to Germany to perform in the American Folk Festival,
      and he decided to stay. He began touring again in the United States in

      But tonight, Red will be in Pittsburgh, performing with the legendary
      Honeyboy Edwards at a benefit for the Hope Academy of Music and the
      Arts at East Liberty Presbyterian Church.

      "I didn't get a chance to meet Mr. Robert Johnson because I was [just]
      born when he died," Red said of the Mississippi musician known as King
      of the Delta Blues. "But I know the man that knew him well, and that's
      Mr. Honeyboy Edwards. That's why I hang around him as much as
      possible. I ask him all kinds of questions: 'What kind of guitar did
      Mr. Johnson play?' "

      Tonight, it will be Louisiana Red's guitar getting a workout.

      Living Legends Blues Benefit

      Featuring: David "Honeyboy" Edwards and Louisiana Red with Michael Frank.

      Where: Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, East Liberty.

      When: 7:30 tonight.

      Tickets: $25 and $40; 412-394-3353.
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