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The box set Cadillac Baby's Bea & Baby Records: The Definitive Collection brings to light...

Cadillac Baby's Bea & Baby Records - Downbeat 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Downbeat Magazine

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Anyone who's looking to advance their career would be very well served to have Michael...

Sari Schorr

New York songwriter/bandleader/singer

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Michael is a 21st century renaissance man who has both the business acumen and the...

Don Wilcock

Freelance Music Writer

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Louisiana Red

March 23, 1932 – February 25, 2012

Louisiana Red recorded 3 albums released on the Earwig Music label: Sittin Here Wonderin, Millennium Blues, and Driftin’.

It’s long been said that you have to live the blues in order to play them. It would be difficult to argue that anyone performing on the blues scene today felt the blues more than Louisiana Red. Born Iverson Minter in Bessemer, Alabama on March 23, 1932, Red overcame adversity at every step of his life. His songs are powerful, passionate reflections on both his tragic childhood and life struggles.

Red’s mother died from pneumonia when he was only seven days old. When he was five, the KKK murdered his father. From then on, he was shuffled between family members who abused him and an orphanage, where he suffered further abuse. Throughout these difficult times, he found solace in music. Making his first instrument at age nine out of an old cigar box and rubber bands, he was encouraged by his grandfather, a self-taught bottleneck guitarist who gave Red his first real guitar – an old Kay acoustic that he still has. While living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he became a protégé of local guitarist Crit Walters, and received encouragement from John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson,” who gave Red a Hohner Old Standby harmonica.

At the age of sixteen, he lied about his age and joined the army, serving in Korea. After his honorable discharge, he recorded a few tracks for the Chicago’s Checker label, a subsidiary of Chess Records (featuring Little Walter on harmonica and Muddy Waters assisting on guitar). This experience allowed Red to hit the thriving South Side blues joints, where he played with Jimmy Rogers, Otis Spann, and Baby Face Leroy, learning from them, and helping to develop their styles. Perhaps his greatest inspiration, however, came when he moved to Detroit and played with John Lee Hooker, the final piece of the puzzle that would make up Red’s style.

Red lived in Pittsburgh in the 1970s and then moved to Chicago, where he resided until 1980, highly influenced by Earl Hooker. Red moved to Phoenix, Arizona, for a year during which time he recorded an solo album for Producer Bob Corritore, which remained unissued until Earwig Music Company bought it in 1988 and released it in 1995. Since moving to Germany in 1982, he toured worldwide and recorded prolifically. He also returned to the United States annually during the last 15 years of his life for short tours. By the time of his death, of a poorly treated short-term illness, which led to kidney and liver failure and death, Red had more than a dozen albums under his belt. He continued to record and write new material until his fatal illness. A master of slide guitar, he played both traditional acoustic and urban electric styles, with lyrics both honest and often remarkably personal. He connected with audiences throughout the world, and as he put it, “Played the blues… hard.”

“…the blues don’t get any better than this.”
–Jazz & Blues Report

“From stone Delta blues to Funk, this guitarist can play it all.”
–Living Blues

“…few can match his fusion of musical precision and uncompromising honesty.”
–Chicago Reader