Tag Archives | blues
Sonny Terry

March 11th in African American History – Sonny Terry

March 11, 1986 Sonny Terry, blues musician, died. Terry was born Saunders Terrell on October 24, 1911 in Greensboro, North Carolina.

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Thomas Andrew Dorsey

January 23rd in African American History – Thomas Andrew Dorsey

January 23, 1993 Thomas Andrew Dorsey, the father of gospel music, died. Dorsey was born July 1, 1899 in Villa Rica, Georgia. He learned to play blues piano as a young man. In the 1920s, Dorsey was known for playing the blues and is credited with composing more than 400 blues and jazz songs, including […]

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Bessie Smith

September 26th in African American History – Bessie Smith

September 26, 1937 Bessie Smith, blues singer, died. Smith was born on April 15, 1894 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In 1912, she was hired as a dancer with the Moses Stokes troupe which included Ma Rainey. By the early 1920s, Smith had starred with Sidney Bechet in “How Come?,” a musical that made its way to […]

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Luther Allison

August 12th in African American History – Luther Allison

August 12, 1997 Luther Allison, blues guitarist, died. Allison was born August 17, 1939 in Widener, Arkansas but raised in Chicago, Illinois. Allison taught himself to play the guitar. During the 1950s and early 1960s, he worked the club circuit. He released his debut album, “Love Me Mama”, in 1968. In 1972, Allison was signed […]

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Ray Charles

June 10th in African American History – Ray Charles

June 10, 2004 Ray Charles, pioneering R&B, gospel, blues and country musician, died. Born Ray Charles Robinson on September 23, 1930 in Albany, Georgia, Charles began to lose his sight at the age of five and was completely blind by the age of seven. In 1943, he began to perform around Tallahassee and Jacksonville, Florida. […]

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Koko Taylor

June 3rd in African American History – Koko Taylor

June 3, 2009 Koko Taylor, blues singer popularly known as the “Queen of the Blues,” died. Born Cora Walton on September 28, 1928 in Shelby County, Tennessee, Taylor moved to Chicago in 1952. During the late 1950s, she began singing in Chicago blues clubs. In 1966, Taylor recorded “Wang Dang Doodle” which became a hit […]

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Johnnie Harrison Taylor

May 31st in African American History – Johnnie Harrison Taylor

May 31, 2000 Johnnie Harrison Taylor, gospel, blues and soul singer, died. Taylor was born May 5, 1937 in Crawfordsville, Arkansas. In 1957, he was hired to replace Sam Cooke in the gospel group the Soul Stirrers and in 1962 he recorded his first solo, “Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day.” In 1966, Taylor moved […]

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