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"You Shook Me" - the backstory.

Here is a really interesting song with an even more interesting back story. Earl Hooker and his band recorded an instrumental that was called "Blue Guitar" in 1961. Actually, the song was a "warm-up" that the Hooker band was doing…

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Jimmy Reed - harp.

Most blues fans are familiar with the great Jimmy Reed from classics like Big Boss Man and Bright Lights, Big City, and it's the whole package of what he brought that made him so good - singing, guitar, composing and…

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RIP - James Cotton

One of the last of the great bluesmen, James Cotton died today, March 16, 2017, of pneumonia. He was 81, and had been a working musician from the age of nine, and a performer for more than six decades.  Tutored…
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James Cotton

Most of great blues artists we've featured are no longer with us, but some are still with us.  James Cotton is one of the latter group. Born in Tunica, Mississippi in 1935 (1934 according to some sources), Cotton, despite a…
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Arthur "Big Boy" Spires

Another great Chicago bluesman, Spires was born in Natchez, Mississippi in 1912.  By the early 40s he had moved to Chicago and was playing guitar and singing at house parties. Among his accomplishments, he recruited young guitarists David and Louis…
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Every Day I Have the Blues

One the most well known of blues standards, this song has been recorded by so many of the greats, from Memphis Slim who re-worked an earlier version and sent it on it's way.  Four versions of the song reached the…
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A King Among Kings

Freddie King, aka "The Texas Cannonball," was one of the most influential blues guitarists.  Often referred to as "one of the three kings" along with Albert King and B. B. King, Freddie inspired many blues and rock guitarists, notably Eric…

Maxwell Street (Chicago) and the Blues

It's not often that a street is influential in the development of a style of music, but Maxwell Street is certainly one instance of that phenomenon.  In the 30s and 40s itinerant musicians from the Delta came North seeking work…
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Are five fingers enough?

Well, not for Hound Dog "Six Finger" Taylor.  With six fingers on his left hand, he played as dirty sounding bottleneck style guitar as anyone before or after.  Born Theodore Roosevelt Taylor in 1915, his first instrument was the piano…
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I have a Cold, Cold Feeling (and it's summer!)

Albert Gene Drewery aka Albert Collins (1932-1993) was known as "the Master of the Telecaster" for his distinctive powerful guitar style.  A soulful singer, he was introduced to the guitar by fellow Texas native, Lightnin' Hopkins. Collins big break came…
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When Lightnin' Struck

Sam John "Lightnin" Hopkins (1912-1982) was one of the great Texas bluesmen.  A unique guitar player who often played unaccompanied, he developed his own style in which he often played bass, lead, rhythm and percussion lines. Hopkins was called one…