- February 1, 1923-- Leroy Foster aka “Baby Face”/ “Baby Face Leroy”
- February 15, 1901-- James “Kokomo” Arnold
- February 26, 1928-- “Fats” Antoine Domino
The Answer to the January Blues Question: The man we were looking for was/is Weldon H. Philip “Juke Boy” Bonner, born in Bellville, Texas on March 22nd., 1932. He did his performances (vocals) while in grade-school. He taught himself guitar at age 12. He worked mostly outside of the music field, but did do occasional gigs at local clubs, bars, house parties, and juke joints, up until the latter part of 1947, when he moved to the area of Oakland, California. He stayed there until 1957, when he moved to Houston, back in his home state of Texas. He worked the Houston area billing himself as a one-man band, since he played cymbals, drums, guitar, and harmonica. From there, he toured/ performed throughout Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Tennessee. He recorded on 12 different labels and wrote at least 45 songs. The “Juke Boy” nickname came from early in his career when he sang in clubs in accompaniment to the music playing on the juke box. He passed away June 29,1978, in Houston, of cirrhosis of the liver.
Some February Blues Births:
The February 2015 Blues Question: This bluesman was born in Jackson, Mississippi. As a youth, his family moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, and later, as an individual, to Chicago. He moved back to New Orleans after a disappointing reception of his work in Chicago. He was signed by two different labels to record but he did record on at least twelve. He worked as a guitarist, songwriter and vocalist. He learned from and played with some of the “big names” in blues, rhythm & blues, and rock & roll. Any idea who this man is?
February 2015 Blues Trivia: If you have followed or listened to the blues for more than two days, you have come across the name of Chess Records. Their roster of blues, rhythm & blues, and rock & roll artists is impressive! Some of the best-known are Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Etta James, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Little Walter (Jacobs), Robert Lockwood Jr., Otis Spann, Fred Below, Sam Lay,-- the list goes on and on. There were well over a hundred performers-- some of the best in the business. These were the ones who set the standards for all those who follow in their footsteps today. One of those among them who receives little attention is Willie James Mabon. The trivia part of this is that before Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley brought number one tunes to Chess, Mabon had a Billboard chart number one in 1952 with the song “I (Still) Don’t Know”, written by “Cripple” Clarance Lofton. Mabon’s hit version was then covered by “Tennessee” Ernie Ford. It was later, in 1978, covered by the Blues Brothers. Mabon had a second number one song in 1953 with “I’m Mad”, which was then used in a short animated film titled “Sing Beast Sing”. He was again high on the charts in 1954 with the song “Poison Ivy”, written by Mel London. Mabon also had a lesser hit with the song “Seventh Son”, written for him by Willie Dixon. That song was later covered by Johnny Rivers, Mose Allison, “Long John” Baldry, Georgie Fame, John Mellencamp The Climax Blues Band, and many others. His song “Just Got Some” was covered by Rod Stewart. Oh, by the way, much like some “downloading” today, “Cripple” Clarance Lofton received NO royalties from Mabon’s cover of “I (Still) Don’t Know”. Willie was born on October 24, 1925, in Hollywood, Tennessee, and passed away on April 9, 1985, in Paris, France.
Proprietor of The Sound of Blue record shop in Kent, Ohio.