Digger talks to Pattie Boyd, former model and ex-wife of George Harrison and Eric Clapton and now a successful photographer.
Pattie Boyd (aka Pattie Boyd-Harrison and Pattie Clapton) has led an incredibly full and influential life, being photographed by the leading photographers in the sixties (David Bailey and Terence Donovan), being chosen to appear in The Beatles' debut movie A Hard Day's Night, bein
He's Chicago's blues king today, ruling his domain just as his idol and mentor Muddy Waters did before him. Yet there was a time, and not all that long ago either, when Buddy Guy couldn't even negotiate a decent record deal. Times sure have changed for the better -- Guy's first three albums for Silvertone in the '90s all earned Grammys. Eric Clapton unabashedly calls Buddy Guy his favorite blues axeman, and so do a great many adoring fans worldwide.
High-energy guitar histrionics and boundless on-stage energy have always been Guy trademarks, along with a tortured vocal style that's nearly as distinctive as his incendiary rapid-fire fretwork. He's come a long way from his beginnings on the 1950s Baton Rouge blues scene -- at his first gigs with bandleader "Big Poppa" John Tilley, the young guitarist had to chug a stomach-jolting concoction of Dr. Tichenor's antiseptic and wine to ward off an advanced case of stage fright. But by the time he joined harpist Raful Neal's band, Guy had conquered his nervousness.
Guy journeyed to Chicago in 1957, ready to take the town by storm. But times were tough initially, until he turned up the juice as a showman (much as another of his early idols, Guitar Slim, had back home). It didn't take long after that for the new kid in town to establish himself. He hung with the city's blues elite: Freddy King, Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, and Magic Sam, who introduced Buddy Guy to Cobra Records boss Eli Toscano. Two searing 1958 singles for Cobra's Artistic subsidiary were the result: "This Is the End" and "Try to Quit You Baby" exhibited more than a trace of B.B. King influence, while "You Sure Can't Do" was an unabashed homage to Guitar Slim. Willie Dixon produced the sides.
When Cobra folded, Guy wisely followed Rush over to Chess. With the issue of his first Chess single in 1960, Guy was no longer aurally indebted to anybody. "First Time I Met the Blues" and its follow-up, "Broken Hearted Blues," were fiery, tortured slow blues brilliantly showcasing Guy's whammy-bar-enriched guitar and shrieking, hellhound-on-his-trail vocals.
Although he's often complained that Leonard Chess wouldn't allow him to turn up his guitar loud enough, the claim doesn't wash: Guy's 1960-1967 Chess catalog remains his most satisfying body of work. A shuffling "Let Me Love You Baby," the impassioned downbeat items "Ten Years Ago," "Stone Crazy," "My Time After Awhile," and "Leave My Girl Alone," and a bouncy "No Lie" rate with the hottest blues waxings of the '60s. While at Chess, Guy worked long and hard as a session guitarist, getting his licks in on sides by Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Koko Taylor (on her hit "Wang Dang Doodle").
Upon leaving Chess in 1967, Guy went to Vanguard. His first LP for the firm, A Man and the Blues, followed in the same immaculate vein as his Chess work and contained the rocking "Mary Had a Little Lamb," but This Is Buddy Guy and Hold That Plane! proved somewhat less consistent. Guy and harpist Junior Wells had long been friends and played around Chicago together (Guy supplied the guitar work on Wells' seminal 1965 Delmark set Hoodoo Man Blues, initially billed as "Friendly Chap" because of his Chess contract); they recorded together for Blue Thumb in 1969 as Buddy and the Juniors (pianist Junior Mance being the other Junior) and Atlantic in 1970 (sessions co-produced by Eric Clapton and Tom Dowd), and 1972 for the solid album Buddy Guy & Junior Wells Play the Blues. Buddy and Junior toured together throughout the '70s, their playful repartee immortalized on Drinkin' TNT 'n' Smokin' Dynamite, a live set cut at the 1974 Montreux Jazz Festival.
Guy's reputation among rock guitar gods such as Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughan was unsurpassed, but prior to his Grammy-winning 1991 Silvertone disc Damn Right, I've Got the Blues, he amazingly hadn't issued a domestic album in a decade. That's when the Buddy Guy bandwagon really picked up steam -- he began selling out auditoriums and turning up on network television (David Letterman, Jay Leno, etc.). Feels Like Rain, his 1993 encore, was a huge letdown artistically, unless one enjoys the twisted concept of having one of the world's top bluesmen duet with country hat act Travis Tritt and hopelessly overwrought rock singer Paul Rodgers. By comparison, 1994's Slippin' In, produced by Eddie Kramer, was a major step back in the right direction, with no hideous duets and a preponderance of genuine blues excursions. Last Time Around: Live at Legends, an acoustic outing with longtime partner Junior Wells followed in 1998. In 2001, Guy switched gears and went to Mississippi for a recording of the type of modal juke-joint blues favored by Junior Kimbrough, R.L. Burnside, and the Fat Possum crew. The result was Sweet Tea: arguably one of his finest albums and yet a complete anomaly in his catalog. Oddly enough, he chose to follow that up with Blues Singer in 2003, another completely acoustic effort that won a Grammy. For 2005's Bring 'Em In, it was back to the same template as his first albums for Silvertone, with polished production and a handful of guest stars. Skin Deep appeared in 2008 and featured guest spots by Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Eric Clapton, and Robert Randolph.
A Buddy Guy concert can sometimes be a frustrating experience. He'll be in the middle of something downright hair-raising, only to break it off abruptly in midsong, or he'll ignore his own massive songbook in order to offer imitations of Clapton, Vaughan, and Hendrix. But Guy, whose club remains the most successful blues joint in Chicago (you'll likely find him sitting at the bar whenever he's in town), is without a doubt the Windy City's reigning blues artist -- and he rules benevolently.
- All Music Guide
Sources: Bill Dahl
Why Not Check Out:
Santana is the primary exponent of Latin-tinged rock, particularly due to its combination of Latin percussion (congas, timbales, etc.) with bandleader Carlos Santana's distinctive, high-pitched lead guitar playing. The group was the last major act to emerge from the psychedelic San Francisco music scene of the 1960s and it enjoyed massive success at the end of the decade and into the early '70s.
The musical direction then changed to a more contemplative and jazzy style as the band's early personnel gradually departed, leaving the name in the hands of Carlos Santana, who guided the group to consistent commercial success over the next quarter-century. By the mid-'90s, Santana seemed spent as a commercial force on records, though the group continued to attract audiences for its concerts worldwide. But the band made a surprising and monumental comeback in 1999 with Supernatural, an album featuring many guest stars that became Santana's best-selling release and won a raft of Grammy Awards.
Mexican-native Carlos Santana (born July 20, 1947, in Autlan de Navarro, Mexico) moved to San Francisco in the early '60s, by which time he was already playing the guitar professionally. In 1966, he formed the Santana Blues Band with keyboard player and singer Gregg Rolie (born June 17, 1947, in Seattle, WA) and other musicians, the personnel changing frequently. The group was given its name due to a musician’s union requirement that a single person be named a band's leader and it did not at first indicate that Carlos was in charge.
Bass player David Brown (born February 15, 1947, in New York, NY) joined early on, as did Carlos' high school friend, conga player Mike Carabello (born November 18, 1947, in San Francisco), though he did not stay long at first. By mid-1967, the band's line-up consisted of Carlos, Rolie, Brown, drummer Bob “Doc” Livingston, and percussionist Marcus Malone. The name was shortened simply to Santana and the group came to the attention of promoter Bill Graham, who gave it its debut at his Fillmore West theatre on June 16, 1968.
Santana was signed to Columbia Records, which sent producer David Rubinson to tape the band at a four-night stand at the Fillmore West December 19-22, 1968. The results were not released until almost 30 years later, when Columbia/Legacy issued Live at the Fillmore 1968 in 1997. Livingston and Malone left the line-up in 1969 and were replaced by Carabello and drummer Michael Shrieve (born July 6, 1949, in San Francisco), with a second percussionist, Jose “Chepito” Areas (born July 25, 1946, in Leon, Nicaragua) making Santana a sextet.
The band recorded its self-titled debut album and began to tour nationally, making an important stop at the Woodstock festival on August 15, 1969. Santana was released the same month. It peaked in the Top Five, going on to remain in the charts over two years, sell over two million copies, and spawn the Top 40 single "Jingo" and the Top Ten single "Evil Ways." Santana's performance of "Soul Sacrifice" was a highlight of the documentary film Woodstock and its double-platinum soundtrack album, which appeared in 1970.
The band's second album, Abraxas, was released in September 1970 and was even more successful than its first. It hit number one, remaining in the charts for more than a-year-and-a-half and eventually selling over four million copies while spawning the Top Five hit "Black Magic Woman" and the Top Ten hit "Oye Como Va." By the end of the year, the group had added a seventh member, teenage guitarist Neal Schon (born February 27, 1954).
Sanatana's third album, Santana III, was performed by the seven band members, though several guest musicians were also mentioned in the credits, notably percussionist Coke Escovedo, who played on all the tracks. Released in September 1971, the album was another massive hit, reaching number one and eventually selling over two million copies while spawning the Top Ten hit "Everybody's Everything" and the Top 20 hit "No One to Depend On." But it marked the end of the Woodstock-era edition of Santana, which broke up at the end of the tour promoting it, with Carlos retaining rights to the band name.
Following a tour with Buddy Miles that resulted in a live duo album - Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles! Live! - Carlos reorganized Santana and recorded the fourth Santana band album, Caravanserai, on which each track featured individual musician credits. From the previous line-up, Rolie, Shrieve, Areas, and Schon appeared, alongside pianist Tom Coster, percussionist James Mindo Lewis, percussionist Armando Peraza, guitarist/bassist Douglas Rauch, and percussionist Rico Reyes, among others. (Rolie and Schon left to form Journey.)
The album was released in September 1972; it peaked in the Top Five and was eventually certified platinum. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance with Vocal Coloring. Carlos, who had become a disciple of the guru Sri Chinmoy and adopted the name Devadip (meaning "the eye, the lamp, and the light of God"), next made a duo album with John McLaughlin, guitarist with the Mahavishnu Orchestra (Love Devotion Surrender).
Meanwhile, the line-up of Santana continued to fluctuate. On Welcome, the band's fifth album, released in November 1973, it consisted of Carlos, Shrieve, Areas, Coster, Peraza, Rauch, keyboard player Richard Kermode, and singer Leon Thomas. The album went gold and peaked in the Top 20. In May 1974, Lotus, a live album featuring the same line-up, was released only in Japan (it was issued in the U.S. in 1991).
Carlos continued to alternate side projects with Santana band albums, next recording a duo LP with John Coltrane's widow Alice Coltrane (Illuminations). Columbia decided to cash in on the band's diminishing popularity by releasing Santana's Greatest Hits in July 1974. The compilation peaked in the Top 20 and eventually went double platinum. The sixth new Santana album, Borboletta, followed in October.
The band personnel for the LP featured Carlos, Shrieve, Areas, Coster, Peraza, a returning David Brown, saxophonist Jules Broussard, and singer Leon Patillo, plus guest stars Flora Purim, Airto Moreira, and Stanley Clarke. Borboletta peaked in the Top 20 and eventually went gold. Carlos steered Santana back to a more commercial sound in the mid-'70s in an attempt to stop the eroding sales of the band's albums. He enlisted Santana's original producer, David Rubinson, to handle the next LP.
The band was streamlined to a sextet consisting of himself, Coster, Peraza, Brown, drummer Ndugu Leon Chancler (Shrieve having departed to work with Stomu Yamashta), and singer Greg Walker. The result was Amigos, released in March 1976, which returned Santana to the Top Ten and went gold. The band was back only nine months later with another Rubinson production, Festival, for which Santana consisted of Carlos, Coster, returning members Jose “Chepito” Areas and Leon Patillo, drummer Gaylord Birch, percussionist Raul Rekow, and bass player Pablo Telez. This album peaked in the Top 40 and went gold.
Never having issued a live album in the U.S., Santana made up for the lapse with Moonflower, released in October 1977, for which the band consisted of Carlos, Coster, Areas, Rekow, Telez, returning member Greg Walker, percussionist Pete Escovedo, drummer Graham Lear, and bass player David Margen. The album peaked in the Top Ten and eventually went platinum, its sales stimulated by the single release of a revival of the Zombies' "She's Not There" that peaked in the Top 20, Santana's first hit single in nearly six years.
Turning to producers Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter, Santana returned to the studio for Inner Secrets, released in October 1978. The revamped line-up this time was Carlos, Rekow, Walker, Lear, Margen, returning members Coke Escovedo and Armando Peraza, keyboard player Chris Rhyne, and guitarist/keyboard player Chris Solberg. The album was quickly certified gold, and a revival of the Classics IV hit "Stormy" made the Top 40, but Inner Secrets peaked disappointingly below the Top 20.
Once again adopting his guru name of Devadip, Carlos issued his first real solo album (Oneness/Silver Dreams – Golden Reality) in February 1979. Marathon, the tenth Santana band studio album, followed in September, produced by Keith Olsen, the band here being Carlos, Rekow, Lear, Margen, Peraza, Solberg, singer Alex Ligertwood, and keyboard player Alan Pasqua. The album equalled the success of Inner Secrets, peaking outside the Top 20 but going gold, with "You Know That I Love You" becoming a Top 40 single.
Again, Carlos followed in the winter with another solo effort (the Swing of Delight). Santana (Carlos, Rekow, Lear, Margen, Peraza, Ligertwood, keyboard player Richard Baker, and percussionist Orestes Vilato) spent some extra time on its next release, not issuing Zebop! until March 1981, and the extra effort paid off. Paced by the Top 20 single "Winning," the album reached the Top Ten and went gold. The band lavished similar attention on Shango, which was released in August 1982. The same line-up as that on Zebop! was joined by original member Gregg Rolie, who also co-produced the album.
A music video helped Santana enjoy its first Top Ten single in more than a decade with "Hold On," but that did not translate into increased sales for the album, which peaked in the Top 20 but became the band's first LP not to at least go gold. Carlos followed with another solo album (Havana Moon), but did not release a new Santana band album until February 1985 with Beyond Appearances, produced by Val Garay. By now the line-up consisted of Carlos, Rekow, Peraza, Ligertwood, Vilato, returning member Greg Walker, bass player Alphonso Johnson, keyboard player David Sancious, drummer Chester C. Thompson, and keyboard player Chester D. Thompson.
"Say It Again," the album's single, reached the Top 40, but that was better than the LP did. Santana staged a 20-year anniversary reunion concert in August 1986 featuring many past band members. The February 1987 album Freedom marked the formal inclusion of Buddy Miles as a member of Santana, alongside Carlos, Rekow, Peraza, Vilato, Johnson, Chester D. Thompson, and returning members Tom Coster and Graham Lear. The album barely made the Top 100.
Carlos followed in the fall with another solo album (Blues for Salvador), winning his first Grammy Award in the process (Best Rock Instrumental Performance for the title track). In 1988, he added Wayne Shorter to the band for a tour, then put together a reunion edition of Santana that featured Areas, Rolie, and Shrieve beside Johnson, Peraza, and Thompson. In October, Columbia celebrated the 20-year anniversary of the band's signing to the label with the retrospective Viva Santana!
The next new Santana album was Spirits Dancing in the Flesh, released in June 1990, for which the band was Carlos, Peraza, Thompson, returning member Alex Ligertwood, drummer Walfredo Reyes, and bass player Benny Rietveld. A modest seller that made only the lower reaches of the Top 100, it marked the end of the band's 22-year tenure at Columbia Records. In 1991, Santana signed to Polydor Records, which, in April 1992, released the band's 16th studio album, Milagro. The line-up was Carlos, Thompson, Ligertwood, Reyes, Rietvald, and percussionist Karl Perazzo.
Polydor was not able to reverse the band's commercial decline, as the album became Santana's first new studio release not to reach the Top 100. The group followed in November 1993 with Sacred Fire - Live in South America, which featured Carlos, Thompson, Ligertwood, Reyes, Perazzo, singer Vorriece Cooper, bass player Myron Dove, and guitarist Jorge Santana, Carlos' brother. The album barely made the charts. In 1994, Carlos, Jorge, and their nephew Carlos Hernandez, released Santana Brothers, another marginal chart entry.
The same year, Areas, Carabello, Rolie, and Shrieve formed a band called Abraxas and released the album Abraxas Pool, which did not chart. Santana left Polydor and signed briefly to EMI before moving to Arista Records, run by Clive Davis, who had been president of Columbia during the band's heyday. Carlos and Davis put together Supernatural, which was stuffed with appearances by high-profile guest stars including Eagle-Eye Cherry, Wyclef Jean, Eric Clapton, Lauryn Hill, Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20, Everlast and Dave Matthews.
Arista released the album in June 1999, followed by the single "Smooth" featuring Rob Thomas. Album and single hit number one and in 2000, a second single, "Maria Maria," also topped the charts. Supernatural's sales exploded, taking it past ten million copies and the album garnered 11 Grammy nominations. Santana won eight Grammys, for Record of the Year ("Smooth"), Album of the Year, Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal ("Maria Maria"), Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals ("Smooth"), Best Pop Instrumental Performance ("El Farol"), Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal ("Put Your Lights On"), Best Rock Instrumental Performance ("The Calling"), and Best Rock Album, and "Smooth" won the Grammy for Song of the Year for authors Rob Thomas and Itaal Shur.
The follow-up, Shaman, appeared in 2002. Three years later All That I Am arrived with Steven Tyler, Michelle Branch, Big Boi, Joss Stone, Bo Bice, and many more making guest appearances. ~ William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide
This information is provided as a brief overview and not as a definitive guide, there are other sources on the net for that. If however you have a story or information that is not generally known we would love to hear from you. Content@rokpool.com
Why Not Also Check Out:
"First comes the class in the small, crinkled, slightly seedy person of John Lee Hooker, a.k.a. The Hook, Doctor Feelgood, and, by way of formal onstage introduction, 'The Godfather of the Blues'. . . . The first great recorded practitioner of the electric blues-rock-funk and stream-of-consciousness boogie, he introduced a style to which every white blues band since 1962 must trace at least half its roots." John Lee Hooker was 72 when his 1979 appearence at New York's Lone Star Cafe brought on that tribute from Patrick Carr in the Village Voice. Hooker's influence on blues, blues-folk and blues-rock musicians remains vital ten years later.
Born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, he learned his "Delta licks" style of guitar playing from his stepfather, William Moore, and his colleagues James Smith and Coot Harris. He ascribed his style—with, in writer Fred Stuckey's words, "tonal 'bendings' of the third, fifth and seventh degrees of the scale and abrasive two-finger picking"—to them in an interview with Stuckey in Guitar Player, stating that "Down in Clarksdale, my stepfather taught me all I know about playing the guitar. . . . After this uprising of fancy music, I never did drop what I learned back then. I'm doin'what the blues singers was doin' back then, and it sounded good. It still sounds good, and I'm always goin' to keep it just the way it is."
Hooker travelled to Memphis, Cincinnati and Detroit where, in the mid-1940s, he made a demo for distributor Bernie Besman. Hooker recorded his first single, "Boogie Chillen" and "Sally Mae," for the Sensation label. As distributed by Modern Records, it became a hit on the blues charts of 1949. He followed this record with "In the Mood for Love" and "Crawling King Snake" for Modern. From 1955 to 1964, he recorded for Vee Jay, making singles and albums for that Chicago-based firm, such as Travelin' (1961) and Big Soul: Best of John Lee Hooker (1963). He also recorded under a confounding variety of pseudonyms—among them, Delta John, Johnny Lee, and Birmingham Sam and his Magic Guitar—for a large number of companies. Many of these one-time contracted recordings have been collected and re-mastered in recent years.
During the revived interest in traditional guitar music and performance styles prompted by the popularity of folk music in the 1960s, Hooker was "rediscovered" for the first of many times. He performed at the Newport Folk Festival in 1960 and appeared at coffee houses and college campuses. Hooker was also being rediscovered in Great Britain, where he was an important influence on groups that equated blues with rock and roll, such as the Rolling Stones and the Animals, who recorded his "Boom Boom." Hooker performances became as famous for the rock superstars who appeared in the audience as for his own music. In an engagement at Ungano's in 1969, for example, the Village Voice reported that "three nights after opening, Eric Clapton, Delaney and Bonnie, Ginger Baker and Chris Wood came down to jam with the Doctor and returned the next night for more. And on Saturday, Richie Havens with his whole band in tow showed up to sing and jam."
In the 1970s, as musical forms fused, he concertized with performers from the rock group Canned Heat (with whom he recorded Hooker 'n' Heat) to folk vocalist Bonnie Raitt. He was frequently honored as one of the creators of his genre in joint and group concerts by the long-time greats of blues music. In the Blues Variations concert at Lincoln Center in 1973 he was paired with Muddy Waters and Mose Allison, while in A Night of the Blues at the Brooklyn Academy of Music two years later, he shared the program with Albert King and folk harmonicist Peg Leg Sam.
Hooker plays flexible blues of 10-13 bar phrases punctuated with foot tapping and an electric guitar sound that has been described as "percussive. . . just shy of dissonance and distortion." Each song is a monologue that retells a story of emotional pain that requires a unique verbal pattern. Reviews of Hooker performances, generally by music historian/journalists who are long-term admirers, provide vivid pictures of his unique song structures and performance style. Carmen Moore wrote in 1970 in the Village Voice that "in his entire set, John Lee sang only one rhymed song. As usual, he paid little heed to the famed three blues chords: all, it seemed, were present at once. What his guitar did was talk, in snaky lines, in sitar quivers, in sudden shocks, in hilly phrases. . . . Gifted with one of the richest voices in contemporary music, this serious of serene of bassos sat down, the mike at his lips, and shared a few instances from his personal black life." Ian Dove, reviewing the Blues Variations concert, also noted the personal delivery style: "He is a complete, closed-in performer, who accents the rhythmic drive of his performances by chopping off phrases and choking off the ends of his rhythmic lines. He keeps things simple, rarely straying from a couple of chords, and delivers his autobiographical blues with growing menace and much vibrato." Almost a decade later, Patrick Carr wrote that Hooker "continues to perform and record with the same slow mastery of blue-life imagery, the same spare, quirky, throttled-violence guitar technique, and the same beautifully resonant leather-and-raw-silk vocal genius that were his from the start."
The optimal way to hear Hooker is in live performance, but there are scores of albums featuring his work. He has made over forty albums under various names. Chess Records has recently begun to re-issue tapes and studio cuts in series of albums simply called The Blues, Volumes 1-3. Amiga Records also distributes a Hooker anthology, Blues, Collection 2.
"Godfather of the blues" or simply one of its greatest practitioners, Hooker has maintained one of the great native art forms of the United States. He described its universal importance and appeal to Guitar Player: "Everybody understands the blues now—the young, all races, all over the world. Back then people pretended they didn't know, but now they know. The young people have really brought it out. . . . It's a tremendous thing because it's true. It's the truest music that ever been written. . . . Everything comes right from the blues—spirituals, jazz, rock. The blues is the root of all this."
Born August 22, 1917, in Clarksdale, Miss. ; son of a Baptist minister, stepson of William Moore (a guitarist).
Learned to play guitar from his stepfather, played in Mississippi, then in Memphis, Tenn., Cincinnati, Ohio, and Detroit, Mich.; began recording in the mid-1940s; has performed and recorded under a variety of pseudonyms.
"Boogie Chillun" (single), Sensation/Modern, 1948.
Travelin', Vee Jay, 1961.
Big Soul: Best of John Lee Hooker, Vee Jay, 1963.
Hooker 'n' Heat, (with Canned Heat), Liberty, 1971.
Boogie Chillun (includes a new version of the title song), Fantasy, 1972.
The Cream, Tomato, 1979.
Blues, Collection 2, Amiga, 1986.
Jealous, Pausa, 1986.
Source: Barbara Stratyner
This information is provided as a brief overview and not as a definitive guide, there are other sources on the net for that. If however you have a story or information that is not generally known we would love to hear from you. Content@rokpool.com
Why Not Check Out:
In the history of the blues, there has never been anyone quite like the Howlin' Wolf. Six foot three and close to 300 pounds in his salad days, the Wolf was the primal force of the music spun out to its ultimate conclusion. A Robert Johnson may have possessed more lyrical insight, a Muddy Waters more dignity, and a B.B. King certainly more technical expertise, but no one could match him for the singular ability to rock the house down to the foundation while simultaneously scaring its patrons out of its wits.
He was born in West Point, MS, and named after the 21st President of the United States (Chester Arthur). His father was a farmer and Wolf took to it as well until his 18th birthday, when a chance meeting with Delta blues legend Charley Patton changed his life forever. Though he never came close to learning the subtleties of Patton's complex guitar technique, two of the major components of Wolf's style (Patton's inimitable growl of a voice and his propensity for entertaining) were learned first hand from the Delta blues master. The main source of Wolf's hard-driving, rhythmic style on harmonica came when Aleck "Rice" Miller (Sonny Boy Williamson) married his half-sister Mary and taught him the rudiments of the instrument. He first started playing in the early '30s as a strict Patton imitator, while others recall him at decade's end rocking the juke joints with a neck-rack harmonica and one of the first electric guitars anyone had ever seen. After a four-year stretch in the Army, he settled down as a farmer and weekend player in West Memphis, AR, and it was here that Wolf's career in music began in earnest.
By 1948, he had established himself within the community as a radio personality. As a means of advertising his own local appearances, Wolf had a 15-minute radio show on KWEM in West Memphis, interspersing his down-home blues with farm reports and like-minded advertising that he sold himself. But a change in Wolf's sound that would alter everything that came after was soon in coming because when listeners tuned in for Wolf's show, the sound was up-to-the-minute electric. Wolf had put his first band together, featuring the explosive guitar work of Willie Johnson, whose aggressive style not only perfectly suited Wolf's sound but aurally extended and amplified the violence and nastiness of it as well. In any discussion of Wolf's early success both live, over the airwaves, and on record, the importance of Willie Johnson cannot be overestimated.
Wolf finally started recording in 1951, when he caught the ear of Sam Phillips, who first heard him on his morning radio show. The music Wolf made in the Memphis Recording Service studio was full of passion and zest and Phillips simultaneously leased the results to the Bihari Brothers in Los Angeles and Leonard Chess in Chicago. Suddenly, Howlin' Wolf had two hits at the same time on the R&B charts with two record companies claiming to have him exclusively under contract. Chess finally won him over and as Wolf would proudly relate years later, "I had a 4,000 dollar car and 3,900 dollars in my pocket. I'm the onliest one drove out of the South like a gentleman." It was the winter of 1953 and Chicago would be his new home.
When Wolf entered the Chess studios the next year, the violent aggression of the Memphis sides was being replaced with a Chicago backbeat and, with very little fanfare, a new member in the band. Hubert Sumlin proved himself to be the Wolf's longest-running musical associate. He first appears as a rhythm guitarist on a 1954 session, and within a few years' time his style had fully matured to take over the role of lead guitarist in the band by early 1958. In what can only be described as an "angular attack," Sumlin played almost no chords behind Wolf, sometimes soloing right through his vocals, featuring wild skitterings up and down the fingerboard and biting single notes. If Willie Johnson was Wolf's second voice in his early recording career, then Hubert Sumlin would pick up the gauntlet and run with it right to the end of the howler's life.
By 1956, Wolf was in the R&B charts again, racking up hits with "Evil" and "Smokestack Lightnin'." He remained a top attraction both on the Chicago circuit and on the road. His records, while seldom showing up on the national charts, were still selling in decent numbers down South. But by 1960, Wolf was teamed up with Chess staff writer Willie Dixon, and for the next five years he would record almost nothing but songs written by Dixon. The magic combination of Wolf's voice, Sumlin's guitar, and Dixon's tunes sold a lot of records and brought the 50-year-old bluesman roaring into the next decade with a considerable flourish. The mid-'60s saw him touring Europe regularly with "Smokestack Lightnin'" becoming a hit in England some eight years after its American release. Certainly any list of Wolf's greatest sides would have to include "I Ain't Superstitious," "The Red Rooster," "Shake for Me," "Back Door Man," "Spoonful," and "Wang Dang Doodle," Dixon compositions all. While almost all of them would eventually become Chicago blues standards, their greatest cache occurred when rock bands the world over started mining the Chess catalog for all it was worth. One of these bands was the Rolling Stones, whose cover of "The Red Rooster" became a number-one record in England. At the height of the British Invasion, the Stones came to America in 1965 for an appearance on ABC-TV's rock music show, Shindig. Their main stipulation for appearing on the program was that Howlin' Wolf would be their special guest. With the Stones sitting worshipfully at his feet, the Wolf performed a storming version of "How Many More Years," being seen on his network-TV debut by an audience of a few million. Wolf never forgot the respect the Stones paid him, and he spoke of them highly right up to his final days.
Dixon and Wolf parted company by 1964 and Wolf was back in the studio doing his own songs. One of the classics to emerge from this period was "Killing Floor," featuring a modern backbeat and a incredibly catchy guitar riff from Sumlin. Catchy enough for Led Zeppelin to appropriate it for one of their early albums, cheerfully crediting it to themselves in much the same manner as they had done with numerous other blues standards. By the end of the decade, Wolf's material was being recorded by artists including the Doors, the Electric Flag, the Blues Project, Cream, and Jeff Beck. The result of all these covers brought Wolf the belated acclaim of a young, white audience. Chess' response to this was to bring him into the studio for a "psychedelic" album, truly the most dreadful of his career. His last big payday came when Chess sent him over to England in 1970 to capitalize on the then-current trend of London Session albums, recording with Eric Clapton on lead guitar and other British superstars. Wolf's health was not the best, but the session was miles above the earlier, ill-advised attempt to update Wolf's sound for a younger audience.
As the '70s moved on, the end of the trail started coming closer. By now Wolf was a very sick man; he had survived numerous heart attacks and was suffering kidney damage from an automobile accident that sent him flying through the car's windshield. His bandleader Eddie Shaw firmly rationed Wolf to a meager half-dozen songs per set. Occasionally some of the old fire would come blazing forth from some untapped wellspring, and his final live and studio recordings show that he could still tear the house apart when the spirit moved him. He entered the Veterans Administration Hospital in 1976 to be operated on, but never survived it, finally passing away on January 10th of that year.
But his passing did not go unrecognized. A life-size statue of him was erected shortly after in a Chicago park. Eddie Shaw kept his memory and music alive by keeping his band, the Wolf Gang, together for several years afterward. A child-education center in Chicago was named in his honor and in 1980 he was elected to the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame. In 1991, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A couple of years later, his face was on a United States postage stamp. Live performance footage of him exists in the CD-ROM computer format. Howlin' Wolf is now a permanent part of American history.
Born Chester Arthur Burnett, June 10, 1910, in West Point, MS; died of complications from kidney disease January 10, 1976, in Chicago, IL; son of Dock and Gertrude Burnett (plantation workers); married first wife c. 1930s; married wife, Lillie, c. 1950s; children: (second marriage) Barbara, Betty Jean. Religion: Southern Baptist.
Blues singer, guitarist, and harmonica player. Toured with fellow bluesmen, including Robert Johnson and Sonny Boy Williamson c. 1930s. Worked as singer, producer, and advertising salesman at KWEM Radio in West Memphis, TN. Released first album in 1951 on Chess Records; toured the U.S. and Europe, with Chicago as his primary venue, 1952-c. 1976. Appeared in short film Wolf, 1971. Military service: U.S. Army, stationed in Seattle, WA.
Awards: Honorary doctor of arts degree from Columbia College, Chicago, 1972; Montreux Festival award for album Back Door Wolf, 1975.
Big City Blues, United, 1966.
The Real Folk Blues (recorded c. 1956-65), Chess, 1966.
(With Hubert Sumlin, Otis Spann, Willie Dixon, and others) More Real Folk Blues (recorded c. 1953-57), Chess, 1967.
The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions (featuring Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, and The Rolling Stones), Chess, 1971.
Message to the Young, Chess, 1971.
The Back Door Wolf, Chess, 1973.
Change My Way, Chess, 1977.
Moanin' in the Moonlight (recorded 1951-59), Chess, reissue, 1987.
Cadillac Daddy: Memphis Recordings, 1952, Rounder, 1989.
Chicago: 26 Golden Years, Chess.
His Greatest Sides, Vol. 1, Chess.
Howlin' Wolf: Moanin' in the Moonlight, Chess.
Live and Cookin' at Alice's Restaurant, Chess.
Howlin' Wolf: Chess Blues Masters, Chess.
The Legendary Sun Performers: Howlin' Wolf (British import), Charly.
I'm the Wolf, Vogue.
This Is Howlin' Wolf's New Album (British import), Cadet C.
From Early til Late, Blue Night.
Going Back Home (British import), Syndicate Chapter.
Heart Like Railroad Steel: Rare and Unreleased Recordings, Vol. 1, Blues Ball.
Can't Put Me Out: Rare and Unreleased Recordings, Vol. 2, Blues Ball.
Ridin' in the Moonlight, Ace.
Sources: Cub Koda, All Music Guide; artistdirect.com; B. Kimberly Taylor
This information is provided as a brief overview and not as a definitive guide, there are other sources on the net for that. If however you have a story or information that is not generally known we would love to hear from you. Content@rokpool.com
Why Not Check Out
Universally hailed as the reigning king of the blues, the legendary B.B. King is without a doubt the single most important electric guitarist of the last half century. His bent notes and staccato picking style have influenced legions of contemporary bluesmen, while his gritty and confident voice -- capable of wringing every nuance from any lyric -- provides a worthy match for his passionate playing. Between 1951 and 1985, King notched an impressive 74 entries on Billboard's R&B charts, and he was one of the few full-fledged blues artists to score a major pop hit when his 1970 smash "The Thrill Is Gone" crossed over to mainstream success (engendering memorable appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and American Bandstand). Since that time, he has partnered with such musicians as Eric Clapton and U2 while managing his own acclaimed solo career, all the while maintaining his immediately recognizable style on the electric guitar.
The seeds of Riley B. King's enduring talent were sown deep in the blues-rich Mississippi Delta, where he was born in 1925 near the town of Itta Bena. He was shuttled between his mother's home and his grandmother's residence as a child, his father having left the family when King was very young. The youth put in long days working as a sharecropper and devoutly sang the Lord's praises at church before moving to Indianola -- another town located in the heart of the Delta -- in 1943.
Country and gospel music left an indelible impression on King's musical mindset as he matured, along with the styles of blues greats (T-Bone Walker and Lonnie Johnson) and jazz geniuses (Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt). In 1946, he set off for Memphis to look up his cousin, a rough-edged country blues guitarist named Bukka White. For ten invaluable months, White taught his eager young relative the finer points of playing blues guitar. After returning briefly to Indianola and the sharecropper's eternal struggle with his wife Martha, King returned to Memphis in late 1948. This time, he stuck around for a while.
King was soon broadcasting his music live via Memphis radio station WDIA, a frequency that had only recently switched to a pioneering all-black format. Local club owners preferred that their attractions also held down radio gigs so they could plug their nightly appearances on the air. When WDIA DJ Maurice "Hot Rod" Hulbert exited his air shift, King took over his record-spinning duties. At first tagged "The Peptikon Boy" (an alcohol-loaded elixir that rivaled Hadacol) when WDIA put him on the air, King's on-air handle became the "Beale Street Blues Boy," later shortened to Blues Boy and then a far snappier B.B.
1949 was a four-star breakthrough year for King. He cut his first four tracks for Jim Bulleit's Bullet Records (including a number entitled "Miss Martha King" after his wife), then signed a contract with the Bihari Brothers' Los Angeles-based RPM Records. King cut a plethora of sides in Memphis over the next couple of years for RPM, many of them produced by a relative newcomer named Sam Phillips (whose Sun Records was still a distant dream at that point in time). Phillips was independently producing sides for both the Biharis and Chess; his stable also included Howlin' Wolf, Rosco Gordon, and fellow WDIA personality Rufus Thomas.
The Biharis also recorded some of King's early output themselves, erecting portable recording equipment wherever they could locate a suitable facility. King's first national R&B chart-topper in 1951, "Three O'Clock Blues" (previously waxed by Lowell Fulson), was cut at a Memphis YMCA. King's Memphis running partners included vocalist Bobby Bland, drummer Earl Forest, and ballad-singing pianist Johnny Ace. When King hit the road to promote "Three O'Clock Blues," he handed the group, known as the Beale Streeters, over to Ace.
It was during this era that King first named his beloved guitar "Lucille." Seems that while he was playing a joint in a little Arkansas town called Twist, fisticuffs broke out between two jealous suitors over a lady. The brawlers knocked over a kerosene-filled garbage pail that was heating the place, setting the room ablaze. In the frantic scramble to escape the flames, King left his guitar inside. He foolishly ran back in to retrieve it, dodging the flames and almost losing his life. When the smoke had cleared, King learned that the lady who had inspired such violent passion was named Lucille. Plenty of Lucilles have passed through his hands since; Gibson has even marketed a B.B.-approved guitar model under the name.
The 1950s saw King establish himself as a perennially formidable hitmaking force in the R&B field. Recording mostly in L.A. (the WDIA air shift became impossible to maintain by 1953 due to King's endless touring) for RPM and its successor Kent, King scored 20 chart items during that musically tumultuous decade, including such memorable efforts as "You Know I Love You" (1952); "Woke Up This Morning" and "Please Love Me" (1953); "When My Heart Beats like a Hammer," "Whole Lotta' Love," and "You Upset Me Baby" (1954); "Every Day I Have the Blues" (another Fulson remake), the dreamy blues ballad "Sneakin' Around," and "Ten Long Years" (1955); "Bad Luck," "Sweet Little Angel," and a Platters-like "On My Word of Honor" (1956); and "Please Accept My Love" (first cut by Jimmy Wilson) in 1958. King's guitar attack grew more aggressive and pointed as the decade progressed, influencing a legion of up-and-coming axemen across the nation.
In 1960, King's impassioned two-sided revival of Joe Turner's "Sweet Sixteen" became another mammoth seller, and his "Got a Right to Love My Baby" and "Partin' Time" weren't far behind. But Kent couldn't hang onto a star like King forever (and he may have been tired of watching his new LPs consigned directly into the 99-cent bins on the Biharis' cheapo Crown logo). King moved over to ABC-Paramount Records in 1962, following the lead of Lloyd Price, Ray Charles, and before long, Fats Domino.
In November of 1964, the guitarist cut his seminal Live at the Regal album at the fabled Chicago theater and excitement virtually leaped out of the grooves. That same year, he enjoyed a minor hit with "How Blue Can You Get," one of his many signature tunes. 1966's "Don't Answer the Door" and "Paying the Cost to Be the Boss" two years later were Top Ten R&B entries, and the socially charged and funk-tinged "Why I Sing the Blues" just missed achieving the same status in 1969.
Across-the-board stardom finally arrived in 1969 for the deserving guitarist, when he crashed the mainstream consciousness in a big way with a stately, violin-drenched minor-key treatment of Roy Hawkins' "The Thrill Is Gone" that was quite a departure from the concise horn-powered backing King had customarily employed. At last, pop audiences were convinced that they should get to know King better: not only was the track a number-three R&B smash, it vaulted to the upper reaches of the pop lists as well.
King was one of a precious few bluesmen to score hits consistently during the 1970s, and for good reason: he wasn't afraid to experiment with the idiom. In 1973, he ventured to Philadelphia to record a pair of huge sellers, "To Know You Is to Love You" and "I Like to Live the Love," with the same silky rhythm section that powered the hits of the Spinners and the O'Jays. In 1976, he teamed up with his old cohort Bland to wax some well-received duets. And in 1978, he joined forces with the jazzy Crusaders to make the gloriously funky "Never Make Your Move Too Soon" and an inspiring "When It All Comes Down." Occasionally, the daring deviations veered off-course; Love Me Tender, an album that attempted to harness the Nashville country sound, was an artistic disaster.
Although his concerts were consistently as satisfying as anyone in the field (King asserted himself as a road warrior of remarkable resiliency who gigged an average of 300 nights a year), King tempered his studio activities somewhat. Nevertheless, his 1993 MCA disc Blues Summit was a return to form, as King duetted with his peers (John Lee Hooker, Etta James, Fulson, Koko Taylor) on a program of standards. Other notable releases from that period include 1999's Let the Good Times Roll: The Music of Louis Jordan and 2000's Riding with the King, a collaboration with Eric Clapton. King celebrated his 80th birthday in 2005 with the star-studded album 80, which featured guest spots from such varied artists as Gloria Estefan, John Mayer, and Van Morrison. Live was issued in 2008; that same year, King released an engaging return to pure blues, One Kind Favor, which eschewed the slick sounds of his 21st century work for a stripped-back approach.
For The Record:
Full name, Riley B. King; born September 16, 1925, near Indianola, Miss. ; son of Albert and Nora Ella (Pully ) King; married twice; children: eight
As a child, worked as a farmhand, began singing in spiritual groups, and learned to play guitar; as a teenager, played for money on streetcomers; sang on radio commercials; disc jockey, 1949-53; began recording while working as a disc jockey; played in small clubs from the mid-1950s until the mid-1960s; began playing larger venues in the mid-1960s; has toured extensively throughout the United States and around the world, appearing in concerts, at blues festivals, on television, and in films. Co-founder of Foundation for the Advancement of Inmate Rehabilitation and Recreation (FAIRR); has made more than 40 concert appearances at San Quentin prison. Columist for Guitar Player magazine, 1983. Military service: U.S. Army, 1943.
Awards: Golden Mike Award, National Association of Television and Radio Artists, 1969 and 1974; Academie du Jazz award (France), 1969; Grammy Award for best rhythm & blues vocal, male, 1970, for "The Thrill Is Gone"; a "Day of Blues" was established in his honor by the city of Memphis, Tenn., 1971; presented with key to city of Cleveland, Ohio, 1971; "B.B. King Day" was established by the governor of Mississippi, 1972; honorary doctorate from Tongaloo College, 1973; Humanitarian Award, B'nai B'rith Music and Performance Lodge of New York, 1973; NAACP Image Award, 1975; "B.B. King Day" was established in city of Berkeley, Calif., 1976; honorary doctor of music, Yale University, 1977, and Berkley College of Music, 1985; Grammy Award for best traditional blues recording, 1986, for "My Guitar Sings the Blues"; Lifetime Achievement Award, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, 1987; has received awards from numerous magazine reader polls.
Addresses: Office—c/o MCA Records, 100 University City Plaza, North Hollywood, CA 91608.
In a Rolling Stone interview King stated: "I was almost afraid to say that I was a blues singer. Because it looked like people kind of looked down on you a lot of times when you mention the word blues. But I thank God today I can stick out my chest and say, yeah, I'm a blues singer!"
Anthology of the Blues, Kent.
Better Than Ever, Kent.
Boss of the Blues, Kent.
Doing My Thing, Lord, Kent.
From the Beginning, Kent.
Incredible Soul of B.B. King, Kent.
The Jungle, Kent.
Greatest Hits of B.B. King, Kent.
Let Me Love You, Kent.
Live, B.B. King on Stage, Kent.
Original "Sweet Sixteen," Kent.
Pure Soul, Kent.
Rock & Roll Festival, Vol. 1, Kent.
Turn On With B.B. King, Kent.
Super Rhythm & Blues Hits, Kent.
Underground Blues, Kent.
Live at the Regal, MCA, 1965.
Electric B.B. King, MCA, 1969.
Completely Well, MCA, 1970.
Indianola Mississippi Seeds, ABC, 1970.
Live and Well, MCA, 1970.
Live in Cook County Jail, MCA, 1971.
Back in the Alley, MCA, 1973.
Best of B.B. King, MCA.
Guitar Player, MCA.
Love Me Tender, MCA, 1982.
Take It Home, MCA.
Rhythm & Blues Christmas, United Artists.
Midnight Believer, MCA, 1984.
Source: Bill Dahl, All Music Guide; eNotes.
Why Not Check Out:
I was married to Eric's close friend, George Harrison, but Eric had been making his desire for me clear for months. I felt uncomfortable that he was pushing me in a direction in which I wasn't certain I wanted to go.
But with the realisation that I had inspired such passion and creativity, the song got the better of me. I could resist no longer.
Webb Wilder Q&A
There are two Nashville sounds.
There's the overproduced dreck on FM radio, the music you hear in LongHorn. Forget Music Row, though, and hunt for the good stuff. There's real music out there, Webb Wilder says, and real people making it.
Jimmy Page is without doubt one of the most influential guitarist of our time. Jimmy Page went from a bright eyed, young Skiffle lad to a founding member of Led Zeppelin, Page is a prolific songwriter and musician.
Born in England, Page haphazardly discovered the guitar as an adolescent and according to sources is largely, self taught. Like many young musicians of this time, he was inspired by the blues and rock-n-roll music being imported from America. Page’s first televised appearance was in 1957 playing in a Skiffle group.
Page would often jam with other icons but then only other local musicians like Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. He eventually would go on to be a session musician and work on songs for other artists more notably, The Who, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, Marianne Faithfull and Van Morrison. Some of these recordings were documented, some not and some controversial.
In 1964 and 1965, Page was offered Eric Clapton’s spot in The Yardbirds. He declined both times and didn’t actually join the band until 1966. The band eventually had some line-up drop outs. Page decided to recruit Robert Plant, John Bonham and John Paul Jones and out of the ashes of the failing Yardbirds rose Led Zeppelin.
Led Zeppelin created classic rock radio standards such as Dazed and Confused, Whole Lotta Love, Immigrant Song, Black Dog, and Stairway to Heaven.
The music produced, composed and played by Page during his Led Zeppelin days continues to be the archetype for future rock, punk and metal bands. His techniques in downstroke guitar riffs, innovative dual guitar harmony, mesmerising solos and on-stage theatrics are some of the most quoted inspirations. According to a 2005 interview, Page estimated that he owned over 1500 guitars but he is most well-known for playing a double headed Gibson and Les Pauls. Gibson would go on to release signature Jimmy Page models.
After the death of Bonham, Led Zeppelin broke up. Page continued to be active within the music industry including forming a supergroup with Yes bassist, Chris Squire called XYZ, featuring on a Honeydripper’s recording, film soundtracks and session work. In 1988, he released a solo album called Outrider. In the 90s, he successfully collaborated with Whitesnake front man, David Coverdale. In 1994, he reunited with Plant again for a widely acclaimed MTV Unplugged session.
Four years later, a US rapper, Puff Daddy sampled Kashmir for his hit, Come with Me which featured on the Godzilla soundtrack. Page played a cameo role in the video to support the single.
Page has carried on in this vain by playing live with modern acts and re-mastering Led Zeppelin material.
Die-hard (and not so die-hard) fans were in awe and admiration when Page joined the surviving Led Zeppelin members for a reunion concert in 2007. The reunion caused an international stir and media frenzy.