"Wade Walton an internationally known Mississippi Delta Blues musician playing harmonica in his Clarksdale, Mississippi barber shop. Born on a plantation in 1923 as one of 17 children Mr. Walton performed Blues songs with guitar and harmonica. His day job for 55 years was as a barber and in in 1972 he opened Wade’s Barber Shop cutting hair and slapping out the blues and rhythm." Photograph by Nathan Benn
The Mississippi Blues Project, produced by WXPN in Philadelphia, is a yearlong endeavor that showcases the rich musical heritage of the Magnolia State. Hear a continuous mix of the kind of rough, earthy Southern blues music you might hear in a smoky juke joint.
Photo: John Vettese
B.B. King turns 87 today. Long live the king!
Born on this day: Chester Arthur Burnett, better known as Howlin’ Wolf
Photo by Joel Brodsky
Born on this day: Albert King aka ‘The Velvet Bulldozer’
R.I.P. Hubert Sumlin
Here’s a young Sumlin with Howlin’ Wolf. Another legend of the rich delta blues music tradition is gone. Hopefully, he won’t be forgotten. If you know the Wolf, then you know Sumlin, even if you think you don’t know Sumlin.
Born on this day: R.L. Burnside
Remembering Pinetop Perkins. He died March 21st of this year. He would have been 98 years old today.
Born on this day: Chester Arthur Burnett aka Howlin’ Wolf
Albert King aka ‘The Velvet Bulldozer’, born today in 1923 on a cotton plantation in Mississippi. He came a long way. His influence knows no bounds. The Gibson Flying V guitar is popular because of him.
A legit badass too. Watch the video, he’s playing with a broken ring finger on his right hand.
Marquise Knox and Honeyboy Edwards
Photo by Siep Veldstra
While we mourn the passing of Pinetop Perkins, we should realize that despite this kind of music being completely being ignored by the media, the music never stopped. There are still real bluesmen creating this music and playing it daily. Forget the talk about blues revivals or watered down blues rock. The real thing is there, and never left. It just fell out of favor because people stopped paying attention. (Sounds like the fate of jazz, doesn’t it?)
One up and coming giant you should know is Marquise Knox. He cut his first album at 16 years old. He’s only 19 now, but listening to him sing and play the guitar, you’d think he was 50. He was nicknamed “Man Child” for a reason. Read more about him.
R.I.P. Pinetop Perkins. 1913-2011
One of the last true original bluesmen from the Delta died today. At 97 years old, he had an 80 year career. He was the oldest Delta blues musician. The only one left from that era is his lifelong friend, Honeyboy Edwards. Honeyboy is 95. These men represent a part of American tradition that we are seing disappear. Let’s not forget them. The blues gave birth to American popular music. Jazz, Rock, Soul, R&B, it doesn’t matter. It all goes back to the blues.
Photo Credit - LIFE Magazine