- May 1st.,1890-- Ada Brown
- May 15th.,1906-- Rev. "Uncle" Johnny Williams
- May 30th.,1932-- Joanne Barbara "Pug" Horton
Joe's Blues Blog May 2016
Some May Blues Births:
Answer to the April 2016 Blues Question: the bluesman we were looking for is/was Otis V. Hicks, better-known as Lightnin' Slim, born March 13th.,1913, in St. Louis, Missouri. He was taught the basics of guitar by his father, when just a child. When he was 13, the family moved to St. Francisville, Louisiana (part of the Baton Rouge metro area), where Otis worked outside the music field. Eventually, he dropped out of school to work full-time, up into the 1930's. During that time he learned more on the guitar from his older brother, Layfield. In roughly 1945, he moved to Baton Rouge proper, where he started to sit in with local bands playing in small clubs and back-street ghetto (juke) joints. These gigs were part-time as he worked a regular job during the day. From the late 1940's into the '50's, he worked with Cleveland "Schoolboy Cleve" White in local clubs and on the radio. In 1954 he recorded some singles on the Feature label in Crowley, Louisiana, and on the ACE label in Jackson, Mississippi. In the mid '50's he worked with Slim Harpo (James Isaac Moore) and Jeffrey Tyson in local clubs in the Baton Rouge area. Also in the mid-"50's he recorded on the Excello label in Crowley. During those years and up into the early '60's he played local clubs and other venues with Moses "Whispering" Smith. In roughly 1965, Lightnin' moved to Detroit, Michigan, where he worked in a foundry. Records show that he was married to Slim Harpo's sister. There are other records that show that Lightnin' rented a room from Slim's sister. As I have said before, records are not always clear as to the actual facts. Lightnin' toured, performed, and recorded with Slim for the rest of his career. The touring and recording dates took them all over-- Chicago, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Sheffield, Alabama, Windsor, Canada, England, European countries and Switzerland. Besides the labels listed before, he also recorded on the Blue Horizon and Big Bear-Polydor labels overseas. He passed away on July 27th.,1974, at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, of stomach cancer. He is buried in Pontiac, Michigan. If you're not familiar with him, you need to check him out. It has been said that he was one of the five best blues musicians of the 1950's, ranked with Howlin' Wolf, Muddy, and Little Walter, and that is going some!!
Blues Question for May 2016: this bluesman was originally from Mississippi and later migrated to Chicago, but spent a lot of time travelling between the two. He played piano, organ, bass guitar, and did vocals. He made some of his own recordings but did mostly "session" work with some of the biggest names in the blues. He has a nick-name that is very similar with another bluesman, but they play different instruments. Any idea who this bluesman is ??
Some Blues Trivia for May 2016: if you've made the "blues pilgrimage" to Clarksdale, Mississippi, there are probably some facts concerning the town with which you are not familiar. There was a local bluesman, born in Clarksdale, who did some recordings there in a "dis-used" Greyhound bus station at 302 Third Street. His name was Ike Turner. There were other locals present as well, one of which was Clayton Love (check the February 2015 Blues Blog). Most all of the other musicians at those sessions had Ike listed as a sideman on piano or guitar, so I'm assuming that Ike was the one who put those sessions together. Those sessions were done in the mid-'50's, before Ike took the Kings of Rhythm on the road. In 1943 there was a twenty year old man who had just graduated from Martin Barber College in Memphis, Tennessee, who settled in Clarksdale, opened a barbershop called "Big Six" at 304 Fourth Street. His name was Wade Walton and he played guitar, harmonica, organ, and the razor strop. In the off-work hours Wade performed with Ike Turner & the Kings of Rhythm in the Clarksdale area up into the mid-'50's. By that time the barbershop was doing well and was considered to be "the place" ,as far as music was concerned, in Clarksdale. People came, not just for haircuts, but also to listen to Wade play blues, or to sit in with him and play also. Some of his customers included Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson II and R.C.Smith. In 1989 the shop was moved to 317 Issaquena Avenue, which was, by the way, the previous location of W.C.Handy's house. One other little bit of trivia-- at/in those bus station sessions, Ike's sax player was Raymond Hill. Name doesn't ring a bell ?? OK, how about this-- in the late 1950's, when the Kings of Rhythm band was on the road, Hill had a son, Craig, with an eighteen-year-old girl he was dating, named Anna Mae Bullock. What-- still doesn't ring a bell ?? OK, how about if I give you her later adopted stage name-- Tina Turner !! Anna Mae and Hill split after a fight. It upset Ike and the other band members enough that they proceeded to beat Hill and when one of the members fell with him, it broke Hill's leg so severely that he had to return to Clarksdale. A few years later, after Ike changed Anna Mae's stage name to Tina (to capitalize on a t.v. personality Sheena) and Tina married Ike, he adopted Craig and gave him his last name. By the way, Ike claimed to have been married 14 times, but only the one with Tina was legal.
Proprietor of The Sound of Blue record shop in Kent, Ohio.