- May 5th.,1934-- Johnnie Harrison Taylor
- May 11th.,1941-- Eric Victor Burden
- May 29th.,1951-- Ron Levy, born Reuvin Zev ben Yehoshua Levi
- May 2nd.,2011--L.V.Banks
- May 16th.,1988--Johnny Charles "J.C." Burris
- May 30th.,1980--Carl Dean Radle
First off, congratulations to the winners of the 2019 NEOBA Blues Challenge. In the Band category, Mojo Theory, based out of Columbus, Ohio, and in the Solo/Duo category, Jake Friel and Nic Clark (Jake & Nic). And, thank you to all the others who participated! Now, on with the monthly blog.
Some May Blues Births:
Answer To The April 2019 Blues Question: The bluesman we were looking for is/was Wayne Talmadge Bennett, born December 13, 1931, in Sulpher, Oklahoma. As I stated in the question, he wanted to be known as a versatile performer, as he played blues, jazz, and rhythm & blues material. In his life, at different times, he performed in the house orchestras at the Apollo, in Harlem, at the Regal, in Chicago, at the Howard, in Washington D.C., at the Royal, in Baltimore, and at the Uptown, in Philadelphia, theaters. In the blues field he performed (and sometimes toured) with Bobby Blue Bland, John Lee Hooker, Mighty Sam McClain, Buddy Guy, Elmore James, Jimmy Reed, Rosco Gordon, Little Junior Parker, and James Cotton, just to name a few. In the jazz field he worked with Sonny Stitt, Cannonball Adderley, and Dexter Gordon, and others. In the R & B, soul, gospel, and doo-wop fields, he performed with the Soul Stirrers, Mighty Clouds of Joy, Five Blind Boys, Jackie Wilson, Fats Domino, Ramsey Lewis, The Chi-Lites, the Hues Corporation, and many others. That should give you some idea of his abilities, and, yes, he also did some country. In the Question, I also mentioned that he played guitar on a recording and that that had influenced the rock guitar sound of the '60's. That was/is Elmore James' recording "The Twelve Year Old Boy", on April 12, 1957 (released May '57), on the Chief label, BMI # C2402, Chief # 7001. That recording features Elmore James on vocals, both Wayne Bennett and Eddie Taylor on guitars, J.T. Brown on tenor sax, Johnny Jones on piano, Homesick James on bass, and Odie Payne on drums, featuring Wayne Bennett on the guitar solo work. Both Wayne and Eddie were plugged into the same amp, which is what generated the distortion in sound. James recorded this song again in 1963, on the Fire /Fury/and Enjoy Record(s) company, but it's nowhere as good as the earlier version, and didn't feature Bennett or Taylor. Wayne passed away on November 28, 1992, in New Orleans, from heart failure, one week before a scheduled replacement could be transplanted.
Blues Question For May 2019: In some of the past Blogs, I've listed or shown that some of the great bluesmen had gotten their professional start while they were in prison. This time, this bluesman who was already well established professionally, was sent to prison, where he eventually passed away. One of his recordings is often recognized as the beginning of the "heavy metal" guitar sound. Any idea who this bluesman might be??
Blues Song(s) And Artist)s) For May 2019: The song is "Pickin' The Blues", and the artist is Elmore James, on the Enjoy label, #2015, with Johnny "Big Moose" Walker on piano. If you listen to this and your feet aren't tapping, have someone make sure you have a pulse.
Blues Trivia For May 2019: When you're listening to the blues that you like, do you know what type it is? There are many factors and sub-types: acoustic, electric, guitar, harmonica, piano, or horn-driven, also by area or region. When I say regional, I'm referring to style by area: Mississippi Hill Country, Chicago, St. Louis, New York, West Coast, among many others. The one I'm touching on here is referred to as the Piedmont style. That's played acoustically, with the thumb thumping out the bass line, and the index (and/or others) finger(s) supplying the upper or treble notes. You're probably familiar with some of those who play(ed) that style: Blind Blake, Barbeque Bob, Rev.Gary Davis, Brownie McGhee, Josh White, Blind Willie McTell, Buddy Moss, the list goes on and on. Here's the trivia part: I've said, for a long time, that all American music has come/grown out of the blues. One of the not-well-known Piedmont style blues players was Lesley "Esley" Riddle, of African-American descent, born June 13,1905, in Burnsville, North Carolina. Piedmont style blues was common from the Southern East Coast, northward, as far as New York and New Jersey, including West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. He grew up with his grandparents, not far from the Virginia border, in an area close to Kingsport, Tenn. As a young man, he worked in a cement plant, where he was injured. That injury required that his right leg was amputated at the knee. While he was recovering, he took up the guitar. Shortly after that, he started working with other musicians, such as Brownie McGhee, Harry Gray, and Steve Tarter. Once, at Tarter's house, he met Blind Lemon Jefferson. In 1928, Esley met A.P.Carter (Alvin Pleasant Delaney Carter), who had just started a "country band", The Carter Family Country Band, consisting of A.P., his wife, Sara, and his sister-in-law, Maybelle. Esley and the Carter family travelled and worked together, performing. That pairing was the foundation of country music as it is known today. Here's a question for you: the banjo was used in the earliest blues string bands, and is now used in folk, country, bluegrass, and Dixieland jazz, so from where did it come??
Some May Blues Passings:
Proprietor of The Sound of Blue record shop in Kent, Ohio.