Tampa Red was born in 1904, passing in 1981. His real name was Hudson Woolridge. Born in Georgia, his parents died when he was young and he moved to Tampa, Florida to live with his grandparents. He the took their surname and became Hudson Whitaker.
Red moved to Chicago in the 20’s, taking his silky smooth bottleneck guitar style with him. He went on to influence a generation of Chicago Blues players. He teamed up with Georgia Tom, creating most of his music with him. I will be doing a piece on Georgia Tom next week. Although they were best known as a team. they were the sum of 2 distinct parts. Each was a giant. To continue Red’s story, he kicked around the Chicago scene until he started recording in 1928. His first recording was “It’s Tight Like That”. In recording this song,, he started (created) a style of blues that became known as “hokum”.
It’s Tight Like That
His partnership with Georgia Tom ended in 1932 and Red went on to become a much in demand session player. He played on recordings by Memphis Minnie and Sonny Boy Williamson, among others. By the 1940’s, he had moved on to the electric guitar. He recorded “Let Me Play with Your Poodle” which hit #4 on Billboard’s Harlem Hit Parade. A nice little blues tune which contained many elements of 50’s rock. The piano is especially early rock like. The title and lyrics are typical of the era for its bawdiness and innuendo.
“Let Me Play With Your Poodle”
His story, as did many of these early blues-men, ended tragically. His wife died in 1953 and he turned to alcohol. He became an alcoholic and died destitute at 77 in 1981. Let’s do a few cover versions. This first gem covers th Tampa Red tune, “Don’t Lie To Me'”, with Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughn. A terrific video.
This another interesting cover of “Mean Mistreater Blues” by the rather eclectic combo of Johnny Winter and Dr John. Brilliant!!
Next week, I will take a look at Georgia Tom, Tampa Red’s partner in the early 30’s.
With this post, we now have covered 100 songs of the list I am working from. Only 400 more to go. This particular set is a really good one. A bit of hip-hop, mixed in with some exceptional classic tunes.
A further entry from one of Canada’s premier singer-songwriters. The man has the knack for writing the big hits, and this is one of them. Great video, the man, a guitar and an adoring audience singing every word
April 12 saw the passing of sax player Andrew Love. He died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 71. Andrew was an artist that we have all heard at one point in our life. He and trumpet player Wayne Jackson did session work at (anything that had horns in it was him) Records. They played on recordings by Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes and Sam and Dave among others. Wayne and Andrew formed The Memphis Horns and began freelancing for sessions. In this period they recorded with Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond, Al Green, U2 and Dusty Springfield. They also hooked up on tours by the Doobie Brothers, Jimmy Buffet and Robert Cray.
This is a great live performance of Satisfaction by Otis Redding, with the Memphis Horns supplying the brass.
As a unit, The Memphis Horns released 9 albums, mostly in the 1970’s.. As one could expect, they specialized in a funk sound. The group received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2012 Grammys. Here is a sample of their work.
Noted alt-sax, flautist and clarinetist passed away on April 11th at the age of 81. As well as leading his own band, Hal played and recorded with people like Woody Herman, John Coltrane and George Russell. Tremendously talented, his style was definitively 50’s jazz. I have included several tracks for us to enjoy, perfect Sunday morning music.