Jimmie Lee Bio

Robinson’s music career slowed in the 1970s, and he went to work at various jobs including for the Chicago Board of Education and as a carpenter, cab driver and storeowner. He slowly began to perform again after a group of dedicated fans and musicians calling themselves The Ice Cream Men urged Robinson to join their shows in the late 1980s. Delmark Records revived Robinson’s recording career in 1994 with the record Lonely Traveller, and Robinson again began to perform regularly, taking gigs worldwide. He then recorded two self-produced albums for his Amina Records label, Guns, Gangs and Drugs (1996) and Maxwell Street Blues (1998), before signing with APO Records in 1998. For APO, Robinson recorded Remember Me (1998) and All My Life (2001). Both releases met with extensive acclaim, and All My Life hit the Living Blues radio charts, providing Robinson the recognition he long deserved. He was also recognized with the 2001 Blues Trust Lifetime Achievement Award from Boston-based Blues Trust Productions. Robinson was APO Records’ chief ambassador, and well beyond being a roster musician he was a family member. He will forever be the label’s Godfather.

In addition to his recording career, Robinson was a dedicated activist and committed steward for blues preservation. His chief cause was the preservation of the Maxwell Street Market on Chicago’s south side. That area, where Robinson got his start, has been razed in favor of modern buildings and parking lots in recent years. Robinson once fasted for 81 straight days in protest of the destruction. His efforts were documented extensively, including by the Discovery Channel, the New York Times, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune.

Robinson was also very conscious of his health. While many bluesmen could tell you where to find the best ribs or booze, Robinson was more apt to explain the virtues of vegetarianism and the importance of exercise. His discipline was unflappable, making his contraction of cancer a tragic irony.

Fans and friends will remember Robinson as a truly unique bluesman, a man of unmatched dedication, sincerity and philosophy.

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The Life and Career of BB King

BB King, dubbed the “King of Blues” started his career as a DJ in Memphis before he would go on to find his own fame in the music industry.  BB King wouldn’t cut his first record until 1949 after that there was no stopping him, he would spend the next 5 decades touring and recording some of the best blues music ever made.  BB King was a tireless performer playing more than 300 shows a year.  King gained international fame and went on to play with musicians from almost every genre.  He won 15 Grammy’s and kept performing right up until his death in 2015.

Here is BB King playing his biggest hit:

Early Life

King was born into a sharecropping family on Sept 16, 1925 in Mississippi, he would go one to be one of the best known blues performers, and an inspiration for guitar players the world over.  As he began his career as a DJ in Memphis where he was nicknamed “the Beale Street Blues Boy” and that would soon be shortened to BB.  He recorded his first album in 1949 and from there he would begin an 12 year association with Kent/RPM/Modern and he would go on to record a number of blues hits.  He kept up a frenetic touring pace for the next 30 years averaging 300 shows per year.  His style of playing the blues with the scratchy vocals would earn him the title “King of the Blues”.

“Lucille”

King’s famed guitar “Lucille” comes with an interesting story.  After recording his first album, King performed at a dance in Twist, Arkansas that had a barrel of lit kerosene in the middle of the floor that was there to keep the crowd warm at night.  The barrel was knocked over and fire spread through the building.  Everyone ran out of the building but BB ran back into to grab his guitar.  He christened the guitar Lucille to remind himself not to do anything like that again.

Acclaimed Artist

Regarded as one of the best performer of the blues King won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album in 2006, this wasn’t new he accumulated more than a dozen Grammy’s throughout his long career. He would go on to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W Bush.  There would be a museum dedicated to him in his hometown Indianola, Mississippi.  The music of BB King would go one to influence music through the ages.  He is truly a musical legend and has earned his title as “King of the Blues.”

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John Lee Hooker: The Best Bluesman Ever

Looking back, to the past century, the music industry has seen some of the best works ever to be contributed by various artists, who are now, sadly to say, legends. The individual artists have contributed something different to their respective genres, and these contributions have had a profound effect on the modern music culture over the years. From legends, such as Chuck D, whose notable works were in hip hop, Brandi, who contributed something special to the R&B genre, to other legends, like St Germain, who also made contributions to hip hop; it is hard to underestimate the works of these fallen artists and their effect on today’s different music genres. However, if we were to talk about one true legend, absolutely the best bluesman ever, it would be John Lee Hooker.

John Lee Hooker: Birth and earlier life

After his rise to superstardom in the blues genre, John Lee Hooker left a legacy that many still remember till now, and probably, even for a good time to come. Before then, this legend led a normal life after being born on 22nd August, 1917, near Clarksdale, Mississippi. At an early age, this music legend was introduced to music by his step-father, William Moore, who was a blues musician himself, and was un-reluctant to teach his step-son how to play the guitar.

Later on in the 40s, Lee Hooker had settled in Detroit, where he was juggling a life between being a janitor and a singer who loved to entertain his circle with music in house parties. Needless to say, this caught the ear and the heart of many people, including a local record store owner, Elmer Barbee, who pulled some strings for Lee and linked him up with Bernard Besman, a known producer, record distributor, as well as the owner of Sensation Records, at the time. Unmistakably, this is what led to the titan’s huge success later on in his career.

Career and success

Being in league with Besman, propelled Lee to record a couple of songs, all the while using his, now, incredible and unique skills on the electric guitar; something he highly credited to his step-father on. These tracks found their way to Modern Records, and needless to say, John Lee Hooker’s impeccable talent was in high demand; and after releasing a couple of other hit tracks, he went on to sign a new label (Vee-Jay Records), which saw him release
100 tracks on the imprint.

Afterwards, his career path took on a new path when a few Bohemian artists stood behind him and led him down a new direction. This is what led him back to his roots where he found himself performing at festivals and colleges, where his demand was ever high. It is during these performances that Hooker found himself in league with popular bands who ushered the young star to heights of superstardom.

By the time the 70s came around, immediately after relocating to California, Lee was doing all sorts of stuff, and his appearance in the Blues Brothers movie catapulted his career once more to the heights he’d never reached before. The following years, all the way up to the 90s, Hooker had renewed his talent, and in that same decade, he received countless awards for his unique talent in the blues, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Even now, the “King of the Boogie”, as he is called, still lives on in the hearts of many, and he will ever be hailed as the best bluesman ever.