Fred Below was born in Chicago on September 16, 1926. Below played drums in high school and went on to study percussion at the Roy C. Knapp School of Percussion. Primarily a jazz drummer at the time, he played bebop and joined the Army as part of the 427th Army band. After the service, he returned to Chicago in 1951... Read more
Of the three blues guitarists answering to the name of Luther Johnson, this Chicago West Side-styled veteran is probably the best known. Gospel and blues intersected in young Luther’s life while he was still in Mississippi, but after he moved to Chicago in the mid-1950s, blues became his main passion. He eventually spent a lengthy stint in the 1970s in... Read more
A family band from North Carolina, The Gospel Trumpets formed when the group were adolescents, and through the years have constantly strived for excellence in their vocal performances of both traditional and contemporary gospel music. The members keep up with a heavy schedule of rehearsals and concerts while holding down full-time jobs.
Guitarist, singer, harmonica player and songwriter Grady Champion released two very impressive recordings in 1999 and 2001 for Shanachie Records. Both his debut, Payin’ For My Sins and 2 Days Short of a Week put Champion on the national touring blues map and helped launch his career beyond the boundaries of his native Jackson, Mississippi. His latest release, Back In... Read more
This Canadian singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist reveals a talent solid as stone, a style that can ignite a fire and a voice that can fuel a smoky affair. It’s no wonder why Michael ‘Guitar Mikey’ McMillan shakes up the house one moment with his rhythm and rootsy sound and soothes listeners the next with his bluesy soulful ballads. Raised in... Read more
May 9, 1929 – November 26, 2006
His extroverted antics and multi-colored fright wig might invite the instant dismissal of Cincinnati-based singer Robert “H-Bomb” Ferguson as some sort of comic lightweight. In reality, he’s one of the last survivors of the jump blues era whose once-slavish Wynonie Harris imitations have... Read more
October 27, 1909 – September 24, 2006
Influenced by Roosevelt Sykes and Lonnie Johnson, Henry Townsend was a commanding musician, adept on both piano and guitar. During the 1920s and 1930s, Townsend was one of the musicians who helped make St. Louis one of the blues centers of America.
April 30, 1910 – December 13, 2006
Little is known about Homsick’s early life. He developed a self-taught style of slide guitar through playing at local dances in his teens. He claimed to have played with Yank Rachell, Sleepy John Estes, Blind Boy Fuller and Big Joe Williams, among others,... Read more
June 28, 1915 – August 29, 2011
Honeyboy was one of the last living links to Robert Johnson, and one of the last original acoustic Delta blues players. Over the course of his 39-year association with Earwig Music Company and owner Michael Frank, Honeyboy went from a lesser known figure... Read more
November 16, 1931 – December 4, 2011
Sumlin started out twanging the proverbial broom wire nailed to the wall before he got his mitts on a real guitar. He grew up near West Memphis, Arkansas, briefly hooking up with another young lion with a rosy future, harpist James Cotton, before... Read more
October 3, 1920 – June 3, 1988
One of the last acoustic blues guitarists in Chicago, Jim Brewer was born in Brookhaven, Mississippi on October 3, 1920. The oldest of seven children (five boys and two girls), Brewer lost his sight at an early age. Brewer chose the guitar early... Read more
April 30, 1931 – July 6, 2002
Unlike many of his Chicago blues contemporaries, Jimmie Lee Robinson wasn’t a Mississippi Delta emigre. The guitarist was born and raised right in the Windy City — not far from Maxwell Street, the fabled open-air market on the near West side where the... Read more
October 24, 1936 – April 10, 2013
Chicago guitarist Jimmy Dawkins would just as soon have left his longtime nickname “Fast Fingers” behind. It was always something of a stylistic misnomer anyway; Dawkins’s West Side-styled guitar slashed and surged, but seldom burned with incendiary speed. Dawkins’s blues were generally of... Read more
John Primer demonstrates unmatched guitar technique and further supports his performances, band members and reputation with impressive songwriting and storytelling capabilities. In recognition of his abilities, Primer has multiple nominations for Grammy Awards and Blues Music Awards. In 2016, Primer won a Blues Music Award for ‘Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year’.
June 21, 1941 – September 16, 2015
Johnny “Yard Dog” Jones was a dominating force on the Detroit blues scene, nationally and internationally as a vocalist and harmonica stylist. He was a true entertainer, mesmerizing audiences with his voice, lyrics, music, smile and a few dance steps.
Johnny B. Moore (born Johnny Belle Moore, January 24, 1950, in Clarksdale, Mississippi) is an American Chicago blues and electric blues guitarist, singer and songwriter, who was a member of Koko Taylor’s backing band in the mid-1970s. He has recorded nine solo albums since 1987. Moore’s music retains a link to the earlier Chicago blues of Jimmy Reed and Muddy... Read more
Johnny Drummer was born Thessex Johns on March 1, 1938, in Alligator, Mississippi, a small town twelve miles south of Clarksdale in the heart of the Delta. There he saw musicians like Little Milton and Ike Turner every weekend, and listened to his three brothers play hollow-box guitars on long summer nights, learning all the blues, r&b, and soul songs... Read more