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Posts Tagged ‘Elmore James’

Died On This Date (January 7, 2011) Bobby Robinson / Prolific R&B Producer & Harlem Record Store Owner

Posted by themusicsover on January 7, 2012

Bobby Robinson
April 16, 1917 – January 7, 2011

Bobby Robinson was a pioneering R&B and later, hip-hop record producer, as well as a longtime record store owner.  He opened Bobby’s Record Shop in 1946, making it the first Black-owned business on Harlem’s famous 125th Street.  The store and cultural landmark remained open until he was forced to close in 2008 due to his landlord’s desire to raze and rebuild at that spot.  As a producer, Robinson had a hand in creating a string of R&B and hip-hop hits that stretched from the early ’50s through the mid ’80s.  The list of greats that he enjoyed success with includes Gladys Knight & The Pips, Lee Dorsey, The Shirelles, Elmore James, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Kool Moe Dee, and Doug E. Fresh.  Bobby Robinson was 93 when he passed away on January 7, 2011.

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Died On This Date (May 25, 1965) Sonny Boy Williamson II

Posted by themusicsover on May 25, 2010

Sonny Boy Williamson II (Born Rice Miller)
December 5, 1899 or May 11, 1908 – May 25, 1965

There’s likely only one person who could say they played alongside not only Robert Johnson, but also Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Eric Burden, and Robbie Robertson; that person is Sonny Boy Williamson II. Born on a plantation, Williamson worked along with his father as a sharecropper until he decided to head out on his own in the early ’30s with a harmonica along for the ride. He would meet up and play with the likes of Elmore James, Robert Lockwood Jr., and the great Robert Johnson. Besides having tremendous skills on the harmonica, Williamson learned a few tricks to dazzle his audiences, like playing it with no hands or playing it while nestled between his upper lip and nose. I should point out that around this time, there was another harmonica-playing Sonny Boy Williamson gaining popularity throughout the blues world. So to distinguish the two, this one (Rice Miller) was referred to as “Number 2” or “The Second,” even though he claimed to have started using the stage name first. Williamson made his first recordings for Trumpet Records in 1951, but when the label went bankrupt in 1955, his contract became the property of the renowned Chess Records who helped him achieve much greater success. By the ’60s he was being embraced by the new British blues-rock artists as a main influence affording him the opportunity to record with the Animals and the Yardbirds. Williamson recorded some 70 songs during his career, many of which are considered blues staples and have been covered by Aerosmith, the Who, Led Zeppelin, Van Morrison, Nick Cave, the New York Dolls, and the Allman Brothers to name but a few. Sadly, as Williamson was gaining a new fame and fortune, he was found dead in his room on May 25, 1965 of an apparent heart attack.

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Died On This Date (May 24, 1963) Elmore James / Blues Great

Posted by themusicsover on May 24, 2010

Elmore James
January 27, 1918 – May 24, 1963

Elmore James was and is the undisputed King Of The Slide Guitar. James began making music on a one-string instrument at the age of twelve and by his mid teens, he was playing local dances and juke joints until he went off to fight in World War II. He was part of the US Navy and was there for the invasion of Guam against the Japanese. After the war, James returned to Mississippi only to learn that he had a serious heart condition. He settled in with his adopted brother and began working in his radio repair shop. It was there that James began to tinker with his amps to create a unique sound that could only be called raw and distorted. So ahead of his time, that sound wouldn’t hit the mainstream until rock musicians made it their own in the ’60s. As the ’50s dawned, James began recording sides for Trumpet Records, first as a side man and then front and center after the surprise R&B hit of his “Dust My Broom.”  James made a go at the road, but his poor health brought him back home where he worked a bit as a disc jockey and radio repairman while he continued to make records. He suffered two heart attacks during this period, but the third one on May 24, 1963 proved to be fatal. Elmore James died at the age of age of 45, very young by blues standards.

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Died On This Date (May 5, 2010) Willie Pooch / Popular Ohio Blues Singer

Posted by themusicsover on May 5, 2010

Willie Pooch (Born William Joseph)
1937 – May 5, 2010

Willie Pooch was a popular Columbus, Ohio area blues singer who began his career in gospel groups while still just a child in and around Tupelo, Mississippi.  During his teens, he and his family moved to Chicago where Pooch fell under the tutelage of Luther Allison who schooled him in the art of the blues guitar.  Over the next several years, Pooch played with the likes of Muddy Waters, Elmore James and Hound Dog Taylor.  After spending many years touring the mid west, Pooch settled in Columbus during the early ’60s.  By then he was fronting his own band who became a local blues staple for the better part of the next four decades.  On May 5, 2010, Willie Pooch died from complications of diabetes.  He was 72 years old.

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Died On This Date (December 12, 2007) Ike Turner / R&B Legend

Posted by themusicsover on December 12, 2009

Izear “Ike” Turner
November 5, 1931 – December 12, 2007


Ike Turner was a musician, producer and band leader who is consider one of rock ‘n roll’s pioneers.  He is likely best remembered however, for his work with one-time wife, Tina Turner.  Born in Mississippi in 1931, Turner’s life in music began at just eight years old when he began working for a Clarksdale radio station.  A short time later, he was working as a roadie of sorts for blues great, Robert Nighthawk.  In the late ’40s, Turner formed a band called the Kings of Rhythm whose “Rocket 88” is often credited as the very first rock ‘n roll song.  He and his band eventually settled in St. Louis where he picked up work as a talent scout for various labels including Sun Records.  In that position, he helped launch the careers of such future legends as Elmore James, Howlin’ Wolf and Otis Rush.  In the late ’50s, Turner witnessed a teenage girl by the name of Anna Mae Bullock belt out a B.B. King song at t local club.   The two soon married, and Bullock was rechristened, Tina Turner, thus launching the dynamic Ike & Tina Turner Review, with Tina out front and Ike, the band leading guitarist.  Over the next several years, the duo became superstars releasing such rockin’ R&B numbers as “River Deep Mountain High,” “Proud Mary,” and “Nutbush City Limits.”  In 1976, the pair went through a bitter break up, both personally and professionally.  During the ’80s, Tina became one of the biggest stars in the world, but Ike wasn’t as fortunate.  He kept a relatively low profile other than an occasional run-in with the law or an appearance on talk shows like Howard Stern where he once claimed that he and Tina actually never got married.  On December 12, 2007, Ike Turner, age 76, died of what was ruled a cocaine overdose with other cardiovascular and respiratory factors.

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Proud Mary - The Best of Ike & Tina Turner - Ike & Tina Turner

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