John Peel OBE, - This is the land of tornadoes, thunderstorms, scorching summers, packed churches, magnolias, kudzu, pecans, cicadas, squirrels and chipmunks that outnumber the dogs and cats, trees that want to grow forever and soul food.
Though the insect caused devastation to the cotton plants, it forced Alabama to diversify in other crops, such as peanut farming. This in turn provided diversity and prosperity. In gratitude for the resulting prosperity, the city erected a monument to the boll weevil in Alabama, from its American Indian heritage to its Japanese car manufacturers, has seen a lot of turmoil.
Alabama is never viewed in the same way as Mississippi or Texas where Blues music receives glorification, Essay Getting Married Early Age yet it has contributed Gennett, ARC, Columbia, Vocalion and Okeh did some Alabama based recordings, but not on the scale of Mississippi.
Too few Alabama born Blues musicians have gained national prominence. Another adopted son was Jamaican born Eddie Kirkland, well technically, as he was reported as being a year Sport Business Plan Water by the time he lived in Alabama another much-loved bluesman spending his life in Alabama. Add to the list Lucille Bogan, who, though born in Mississippi moved to Alabama. The big name has to be W.
What does surprise many people are Blues musicians who have made their names elsewhere and yet are Alabama born, i. Harold Courtlander was in the town Livingston in Jan. Charters and Gayle Dean Wardlow have also sought out musicians and valuable information within Alabama. Harry Charles was a salesman who later became a talent scout for Paramount Records, he went on from that to have his own furniture store in Birmingham, AL. Harry Charles had a deep Southern accent which was a very useful tool in persuading local musicians to sign up to him.
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Coming back up to date there are quite a lot of festivals in Alabama that either are Blues festivals or that have Blues acts, - Sam Phillips Festival and W. That may sound like a very healthy situation source, but quite a lot are not Blues only festivals, and none are amongst the best in the country, having few top draw names.
The leading venues, being clubs, bars concert halls etc perhaps are more virile in the acts they put on.
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I realise that my findings will not restrict themselves to Alabama alone, but I found that the Universities, National Public Radio NPR and the syndicated out of state shows, heavily prop up Blues radio. Also too much of Alabama Blues history languishes within University, Folklife and Heritage associations rather than being more readily available to the Blues fans — or future Blues fans.
The Alabama Blues Project has actually always been a more info small struggling non-profit with a few part time staff and a small number of volunteers, interns — but a large number Essay Getting Married Early Age working musicians who teach in the various educational programs that happen in schools, after school, libraries, universities etc. Mike and I split in and he left the blues scene.
Rick and I along with our staff, board of directors, volunteers, musician teachers grew the organization to what it is today.
The ABP has accomplished a tremendous amount over the years but there is so much left undone! Last year Rick and I resigned from the administration of the ABP to focus on other projects — primarily our own music and eventually I plan writing up my knowledge of Alabama blues into a blog and book Essay Getting Married Early Age and establish a permanent exhibition — an Alabama blues museum.
I have been working as a performer primarily backing older traditional blues musicians since I moved here in from England - where I grew up from eight years old. It is through my work as a musician that I fell in love with Alabama blues! Now I am doing my own music gigging just released my own CD — getting great reviews and airplay in the US and Europe … www. Currently the ABP has two part time staff. A small aspect of what we have accomplished is a blues archive, which is really my hobby, on which I am continuing.
We are also doing various special events a local benefit blues cruise fundraising event coming upor another example at the end of last year we had an event planned in Dothan, Alabama. Eddie Kirkland was to be the headliner — and it was planned he would be celebrated in his own hometown.
Sadly, Eddie was killed in a car Essay Getting Married Early Age while returning from a gig so that part never happened. The cool thing is that Eddie did know about our plans. The Festival was dedicated to him, and we created an Eddie Kirkland commemorative exhibition text panel about his life - a live performance of Alabama blues and Blues in the School program.
It will be a line-up of blues women — including SharBaby, Rachel Edwards an amazing young singer that came out of the blues camp and me … and not sure who else yet! I am also helping with research on the Wiregrass blues heritage — hoping it will be the basis for a blues trail marker.
The point is that Alabama has had an amazing blues heritage and so overlooked! The more I have dug into it the more I have found. No one asks the questions about Alabama — so much history is lost.
I did interview Honey Boy Edwards who described his travels and time in Alabama and the blues scene he saw in The Wiregrass thing is a perfect example. Eddie reported a rich blues scene, of juke houses and street musicians. He played local juke joints and house parties, and he recounted the numerous colourful blues characters. His biggest early influences included Jewell, Martin and Ray Snell — a local blues trio, Stop and Fixit - a travelling blues duo originally from GA but Fixit stayed and passed away in Dothan and local musician Blind Murphy.
Big Mama Thornton and J. Warren both from Ariton are also Wiregrass musicians. Pinetop Smith one of the earliest proponents of boogie-woogie was from Troy. There is an active blues scene still in Dothan. A look at somewhere such as Selma, Alabama results in the same kind of window into the much overlooked past! Piano player Cow Cow Davenport, a pioneer of blues piano born in Anniston well-known blues piano player and early proponent of the boogie-woogie piano style from the same early period, reputedly kicked out of school in Selma for playing ragtime and blues!
Trixie Smith I think link was her stage name dropped out of school in Selma to become a blues singer! It seems they both went to Selma University Baptist College where people went to become ministers or teachers.
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The great Bessie Smith … discovered in Selma. There must have been some cool blues stuff going down in Selma! Every area had this kind of history — a lot of the oral history Essay Getting Married Early Age sadly gone — but I hope this helps to inspire people to dig in and find out more! I also contacted maybe the best Blues researcher of them all, Mr.
Gayle Dean Wardlow, certainly the man on the ground. He was the man on the ground that other respected Blues researchers contacted either as a guide or a collaborator. The information he gave me was on Ed Bell the Country Blues guy who recorded before the Mississippi guitarists got their chance to cut. Gayle tells us about Harry Charles who was a lesser H. Speirs if you like. Charles was savvy and contracted the musicians himself.
The piano players he spoke of never left for Chicago as there was a boom going on in Alabama with the Birmingham and This web page iron works.
This made Birmingham a money oasis, as it certainly bucked the trend in the South with unprecedented growth in Alabama. Here is what Gayle gave me in some of the most anticipated emails I have ever had.
Harry Charles found Ed Bell somewhere in Alabama, didn't remember where and recorded him, first for Paramount records and later for QRS, and Columbia under assumed names.
His style is one of those unique Alabama guitar regional styles like there see more in all parts of Mississippi. Steve Calt wrote some excellent notes on a s Yazoo album on Alabama musicians. Seems like Bell learned guitar from or played locally with an unrecorded Joe Dean. Calt died about a year ago so you can't find him to email.
He did all of Nick Perls liner notes mostly. Charles had no interest in finding out their backgrounds or from where they Essay Getting Married Early Age came. He played a Delta rhythm and a bottleneck like Delta men.
Jaybird Coleman was from Bessemer and there was a story on him around by a Pat Cather from Birmingham who found a brother as I recall.
He published the only photo of Coleman George Torey is another pre-war Bama bluesman who has some ties to the delta as he recorded in in Birmingham for ARC two sides and one un-issued titled "Delta Blues.
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He, like Bell, used the term "mamlish" which seems unique to Bama musicians like Jinx did to Delta bluesmen. Charles had a deep southern accent; I was listening to him some tonight. He would often even sing a part with black quartets - he cut for Paramount. He was a real hustler in his days but as he said, the record business was click and he got cheated out of lot of money himself by Paramount and other companies Essay Getting Married Early Age royalties he was to have been paid.
His records were released on Paramount. B'ham especially was Essay Getting Married Early Age of great piano players, Charles discovered Cow Cow Davenport there, and he recorded him for many labels. He came back to Pratt City about and Pat Cather went looking for him.
Alabama was his research area and first love. I found John Lee who recorded in for Federal who used a knife as a slide. He recorded for Rounder Records in aboutbut learned to play from his uncle in the 30s in south Bama from around Evergreen, where John Lee grew up.
His recordings in are the best example of a pre-war Bama style recorded after WW This should give you some insight. In addition, William Harris was from Miss. Delta but went to B'ham to record for Gennett in and stayed. B'ham had many piano players who taught each other but Davenport and Jabo Williams were the two best Davenport came from Anniston originally and moved to B'ham in early 20s.
I was fortunate to have the ear or email communication with a few world visit web page in the Blues field, the next being Don Kent. His other list of achievements being the owner of the important though short lived Mamlish Records, a Blues historian, writer of a large number of liner notes and 78 record collector.
I travelled through Alabama while researching on Ed Bell - I put out two albums on him. I also found out about people you probably never heard of, well I had never heard of.