I am sorry to have to report that our good friend, blues photographer Tom Asp passed away at the VA hospital Sep 22, 2010, two days before his 65th birthday. His blues photos are some of the best ever taken. He will be missed by us all. (I took this photo of Tom at the 2002 Heart and Soul festival in Minneapolis.)
Johnny Jones 8/17/36-10/16/09 Nashville blues and soul singer/guitarist Johnny Jones passed away on Friday Oct 16th. He was 73. Born in Edes, Tennessee and raised in a gospel oriented family, Jones became influenced by the blues of Memphis and Chicago and picked up guitar along the way. He moved to Chicago in the 1950s and worked gigs with Junior Wells and Freddie King. He moved to Nashville in the 60s and worked as a session guitarist and cut a few singles under his own name. He appeared on the Beat TV show as a second guitarist in Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown's Band. In later years Jones owned and operated a Soul Food restaurant but was rediscoved through the efforts of Fred James and European festival bookers. This led to festival appearances, a new European interest in this seasoned veteran, and some CDs. A wonderful guitarist with a warm and passionate voice, Johnny Jones will be remembered as a great blues artist to those lucky enough to have known him. Please note that this artist should not be confused with the blues artist of same name, who was famous for his piano work with Elmore James. For the complete story click here. (Bob Corritore Blues Newsletter)
Freddie Robinson 2/24/39 - 10/8/09. Guitarist/vocalist Freddie Robinson, who would later become known as Abu Talib, passed away at a hospital in Lancaster, California on Thursday, Oct 8th at age 70 after a battle with cancer. A spectacular guitarist with leanings in both blues and jazz, he was highly respected among his peers. Born in Memphis on February 24th, 1939, and raised in various towns in Arkansas, Robinson would move to Chicago in 1956. His first recorded work was later that year backing Birmingham Jr. (AKA Birmingham Jones) on the Ebony single "Birmingham 's Late Hours" b/w "Your Too Bad". He then did some great session work for the Chess label, backing Little Walter, Jimmy Rogers, and Howlin' Wolf on a number of classic sides. He first recorded as a leader during the 1960s for the Queen, Raries, Limelight and One-derful record labels. During the late 1960's he settled in California where he joined Ray Charles band for a period before re-emerging as a band leader. He went on to cut many spectacular albums, most notably At The Drive-In with the song "Bluesology" which is a spoken story with musical examples of the memorable times at Theresa's basement blues bar in Chicago's south side. Robinson’s discography includes records with Harold Burrage, Bobby Bland, Louis Myers, Big Leon Brooks, Lee Shot Williams, Stanley Turrentine, Blue Mitchell, Jimmy McCracklin, Monk Higgins, John Mayall, Shakey Jake, Gary Sloan, and Mitch Kashmar. In 1975 he embraced the Islam religion and a few years later changed his name to Abu Talib, though he sometimes used his established moniker when recording. Freddie Robinson was simply a cool guy; always perfectly dressed in the most soulful of clothes, always articulate in his speech, and always brilliant in his playing. To see a detailed Freddie Robinson discography (with some omissions) click here. Thanks for all the great music Freddie. We will remember you always.
Sam Carr 4/17/1926-9/21/2009: Mississippi blues drummer and band leader Sam Carr has passed away. He was 83. Sam was the son of guitarist/vocalist Robert Nighthawk. Sam is best known for his longtime association with Frank Frost & The Jelly Roll Kings. He was considered one of the greatest blues drummers of all time, and was annually nominated for a W.C. Handy Blues Music Award in the drummer category.
Michael "The Hook" Deutsch
April 1, 1957 - June 24, 2009.
The worlds "only" one handed, one hooked piano player extraordinaire. The Happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absensce but the master of his passions.
It is with great sorrow we share that Mike passed away peacefully early morning. (Wed. June 24th) Lois, Mark and Donna would like to thank everyone for there support and prayers for Mike. The family looks forward to sharing our memories of Mike with everyone as we mourn his passing and celebrate his life in the coming days.
Thank you all. On behalf of Mark, Donna and Lois.
Deutsch Family: email@example.com
1929 - Feb 2008
Legendary Houston bluesman Calvin Owens dies at 78
Legendary composer and bandleader Calvin Owens, part of the blues bedrock in Houston, died Thursday morning. He was 78.
The trumpeter died of kidney failure weeks after undergoing a second surgery for liver cancer.
Nationally, Owens was best known for two periods of work as bandleader for blues legend B.B. King, one of which resulted in a Grammy. Locally, he was a major session player at the Peacock Recording Co. during its golden era in the 1950s. Owens was a fixture on Houston stages for 50 years. He also lived and worked in Europe for 12 years.
Nicknamed "the Maestro," Owens was a restless stylist who didn't limit himself to one genre.
Soul and blues guitarist, born 15 October 1938; died 25 December 2008
Buddy Miles 1947-Feb 26, 2008
Larry Weldon: 1954- Nov. 1, 2007. Larry "Lars" Weldon passed away November 1, 2007 following a sudden illness.
James Brown: May 3 1933-Dec 25 2006
'B-Cool' Keyboardist Extraordinaire passed away suddenly of a heart attack one day after his 54th birthday (4/7/5). He was where he loved; in the arms of his wife Jeanine, vacationing in Negril, Jamaica. He is survived by Jeanine, 4 loving step-children: Dean, Michelle, Dana and Sarah; 2 brothers, Matt of Fort Collins, CO and Mark of Cedar Rapids, IA; as well as a multitude of friends worldwide, especially his best friend Joe Juliano of Oakdale. There was a musical celebration of his life on Sunday May 22nd at 5 PM at the MINNESOTA MUSIC CAFE In St. Paul.
Andy, I was privileged to have been loved by you these past 10 years. You were my honored husband, my best friend, and my business partner.
I miss you more than words can express.
May God bless your soul. Jeanine
Percy Strother, 58, on May 29 2005.
Dear Friends, It is with great sadness that I want to inform you of the passing of the one and only Percy Strother. Percy, for my money one of the greatest blues musicians of our time, passed away Sunday, May 29 at 11:50 am. He was surrounded by his son and Roseanna, his wife of 35 years. I visited with Percy on Saturday at his home in Minneapolis. He was in quite a bit of pain but was still able to converse. When I told him that his music would last for hundreds of years he looked at me and said, “well, I ain’t done yet.” It is fitting to remember on this Memorial Day that he was a soldier until the end.
He did his last gig on April 15th at Famous Daves in Minneapolis. I was honored to sit in with him for the last few songs of his set. He arrived as usual, dressed to the nines. He looked about 35 lbs lighter than the last time I had seen him and before the set had told me that the doctors had just told him he had liver cancer. He told me before he went on, “ I can handle it and I am fine with it as well.” He played a wonderfully powerful solo set. He had his family and band in the audience. His lovely granddaughter Eboni came up to the stage during the set and said, “Grandpa play some blues, I have the blues!” Percy laughed, looked at her and said, “No, you are too young to have the blues. It is your Grandpa that has the blues.” He then went on to ask the audience if there was anything in particular they would like to hear and would be happy to dedicate a song to anyone with a birthday in the audience. He was a complete professional and powerful musician to the end.
I visited him in the hospital a couple of weeks ago. He sat up in the bed and we talked about many things, including his love of fishing. I remember when I called him a couple of years ago. He answered his cell phone and I could tell he was outside. It was in October in the evening and it was snowing and colder than hell. Percy was fishing on the shores of Lake Minnetonka waiting to get his limit of bass. I spoke with Curt Obeda (who Percy always called “OBedia”) and Curt told me a great story of running across Percy fishing by a creek in St. Paul dressed in his ever present hat, cape, and snakeskin boots. That was Percy, always looking like a million bucks.
At the hospital he was writing on a notepad. Percy had this wonderful penmanship and I noticed he was working on a blues number. He told me “I think this is one the people will really enjoy.” He was the consummate entertainer and even while bedridden was working on new material. This should be a lesson to the rest of us. Never give up and put the pleasure of others even ahead of our own pain.
He is survived by his wife Roseanna, four children (two boys and two girls), and four grandchildren. Percy was 58 years old.
Percy didn’t have health insurance. His wife took almost two months off work to care for him and, of course, he wasn’t able to do any gigs after April 15th. He was supposed to play at the Famous Dave’s Barbeque and Blues Fest on June 11th at Peavey Plaza. We will honor him by playing his music through the PA during his set. We will also be doing a Memorial gig for him on June 30th at Famous Dave’s (3001 Hennepin Av., 8pm, $5 minimum donation, show time 8pm)
We are also in the process of setting up a PO Box for donations, all of which will go to the Strother family to cover medical, funeral, and living expenses. We will have that information together tomorrow, at which time we will get all of you a formal press release. The family is in the process of making funeral arrangements.
I always told Percy he was like the big brother I never had. I loved him dearly and thought that that 900 lb voice of his was really a gift from God and truly the cat’s pajamas. He was one of the most hard working musicians I have ever met. He always arrived on time, played his ass off, gave 150%, and always looked really good while doing it.
I can honestly say, knowing Percy Strother was one of the true highlights of my life. Both as a musician and person, he was as good as it gets. I will never forget him. God Bless all of you on this Memorial Day and say a prayer for the GREAT Percy Strother.
Peace, Paul Metsa
Righteous Bros: Bobby Hatfield
1940 - Nov 5 2003.
"You've lost that lovin feeling"
Passed away, 1948-Oct 2, 2003.
He was 55. Cause was brain hemorrhage. Joel was well known to local blues fans. He was also host of KFAI radio's
"Lazy Bill Lucas" blues show.
Joel's website. http://www.geocities.com/bloonmpls/jjb.html
1948-Oct 2, 2003.
1934-April 19, 2003. Died of diabetes related complications.
passed away November 28, 2002.
We morn the loss and celebrate the memory of one of the Twin Cities musical legends.
Dave will be missed. A scheduled Koerner Ray & Glover gig at First Ave. Dec. 13 (6 - 10 PM) will serve as a public memorial and musical celebration.
Photo courtesy of Tom Asp from a recent show at the Turf Club (Oct. 2002).
Rufus Thomas 1917-2001
Born in Cayce, Mississippi on March 26, 1917, Rufus Thomas passed away Saturday December 15, 2001. His life and career secured Rufus as an influence in the worlds of Blues, Rock, and Soul. Earlier this year Rufus Thomas was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. Go to www.blues.org for more information.
Photo copyright © 2000 by Ray Stiles, all rights reserved.
There is a sad footnote to this interview-Rick O'Dell, the saxophone player with the Lamont Cranston Blues Band, died unexpectedly early Saturday morning, July 14, 2001. Rick's last performance was the night before in Mankato where he was doing what he loved to do, play music. Please see the links following this interview for some pictures from Rick's last show.
From Pat Hayes: As you know by now, we just lost a very important part of our little Cranston family, our sax player Rick O'Dell, who died of a heart attack on the morning of July 14th. Those of you who saw us play that night at Whiskey Junction might have noticed all the black outfits on stage and the sort of dazed and shocked band. Rick was in my band on and off for 22 years. He was not only a great sax player, but he was a great person. He always knew how to cheer us up with his great sense of humor and wild antics on stage. He never joked at the expense of others, usually it was him at the brunt of the jokes. I loved this man and so did the other members of the band. Although it is very hard to get used to the fact he's not around anymore, we consider ourselves lucky that we were able to play music with him and to know him as a friend. May he live on in his music.
"A Picture is worth a thousand words, but a song is worth a thousand pictures." --Rick O'Dell
We're saddened to report that blues singer Bobby Johnson passed away
in early February 2001 in St. Paul, Minnesota. He was 61 years old. For more info
about Bobby, use this link: Blue Loon
Photo © 1999 Tom Asp. All rights reserved
"Pops" Staples dead at 85. Roebuck "Pops" Staples, patriarch of the gospel and rhythm-and-blues group the Staple Singers, died Tuesday, December 19, 2000.
Johnnie Taylor, dies at 62
R&B Legend Screamin’ Jay Hawkins Dies At 70, by Dick Houff
Photo © 1998 Tom Asp
All rights reserved
Tommy Ridgley passed away from lung cancer recenlty. See obituary on the Message Board. We were fortunate to see him perform at the Bayfront Blues Festival in 1998.
Kris St. Louis' Memorial Page
Sad news to report -- Mighty Joe Young(click on link for obituary) passed away in March! Live Review.
Lowell Fulson passed away March 7, 1999.
S.P. Leary, Chicago blues drummer, has died at the age of 67. Press Release.
Lonnie Pitchford (October 8, 1955 -- November 8, 1998).
Eugene Powell (December 23, 1908 -- November 4, 1998).
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest
Photo © 1994 by Karl Bremer.
All rights reserved
Sad news to report -- Charles Brown (b: 1922 - d: January 21, 1999) has passed away. See note posted by Stephen Davidson on the message board. Here are two excellent links to find out more: the Rosebud Agency and
Charles Brown Fan Page.
Click here for review and pictures.
NOTED SINGER JOHNNY ADAMS PASSES AWAY!
Junior Kimbrough died from a stroke on January 17, 1998.
Photo © Steve & Nancy Harnar
All rights reserved.
See Press Release. You can also visit the Fat Possum Web Page
A Remembrance of Junior Kimbrough by Kenny Brown
August 17, 1939 - August 12, 1997
Photo copyright 1997 by Tom Asp, all rights reserved.
This and other photos by Tom Asp were taken at Luther's last performance, July 11, 1997 in Minnesota
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