Snooks Eaglin

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Posted by bender 04/24/2009 @ 16:10

Tags : snooks eaglin, blues, artists, music, entertainment

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Six for Switzerland - OffBeat Magazine
More recently, Brooks had been looking forward to playing with guitar great Snooks Eaglin at the 2009 Jazz Fest, a performance which never took place due to Eaglin's death from cancer in February. Brooks is currently in the process of putting together...
Seth Walker - Austin 360
Before long Seth was looking to artists like T-Bone Walker, Snooks Eaglin and BB King as a wellspring of endless inspiration. During a brief stint in Jacksonville, Florida trying to figure out his life's calling, Seth made a definitive decision "to...
Down by the River - OffBeat Magazine
Unfortunately, this spring has also meant saying goodbye to contemporaries—Snooks Eaglin at 71 and Eddie Bo at 79. It's a fact of advancing age that friends pass away, and it only underscores the remarkable nature of Toussaint's career that he is...

Snooks Eaglin

Snooks Eaglin in 2006

Snooks Eaglin, born Fird Eaglin, Jr. (January 21, 1936 – February 18, 2009), was a guitarist and singer in New Orleans. He has also been referred to as Blind Snooks Eaglin in this early years.

His vocal style is reminiscent of Ray Charles; indeed, in the 50s, when he was in his late teens, he would sometimes bill himself as "Little" Ray Charles. He is generally regarded as a New Orleans R&B artist playing a wide range of music from blues, rock 'n' roll, jazz, country to Latin music. In his early years, he also played some straight-ahead acoustic blues.

His ability to play a wide range of songs and his ability to perfectly understand and make the tunes his own earned him the nickname the "human jukebox." Eaglin claimed in interviews that his musical repertoire included some 2,500 songs.

At live shows, he did not usually prepare set lists, and was unpredictable, even to his bandmates. He played songs that come to his head, and he also took requests from the audience.

Eaglin lost his sight not long after his first birthday after being stricken with glaucoma, and spent several years in the hospital with other ailments. Around the age of five Eaglin was given a guitar by his father, which he taught himself to play by listening to and playing with the radio. Being a mischievous young man, he was given the nickname "Snooks" after a radio character named Baby Snooks.

In 1947, at the age of 11, Eaglin won a talent contest organized by radio station WNOE by playing "Twelfth Street Rag". Three years later, he dropped out of the school for the blind to become a professional musician. In 1952, Eaglin joined the Flamingoes, a local 7-piece band started by Allen Toussaint. The Flamingoes didn't have a bass player, and according to Eaglin, he played both the guitar and the bass parts at the same time on his guitar. He stayed with The Flamingoes for several years, until their dissolution in the mid-50s.

As a solo artist, his recording and touring were inconsistent, and for a man with a career of about 50 years, his discography is rather slim. His first recording was in 1953, playing guitar at a recording session for James "Sugar Boy" Crawford.

The first recordings under his own name came when Harry Oster, a folklorist from Louisiana State University, found him playing in the streets of New Orleans. Oster made recordings of Eaglin between 1958 and 1960 during seven sessions which later became records on various labels including Folkways, Folklyric, and Prestige/Bluesville. These recordings were in folk blues style, Eaglin with an acoustic guitar without a band.

From 1960 to 1963, Eaglin recorded for Imperial. He played electric guitar on Imperial sessions with backup from a band including James Booker on piano and Smokey Johnson on drums. He recorded a total of 26 tracks which can be heard on The Complete Imperial Recordings CD. Much of the material on Imperial were written by Dave Bartholomew. Unlike the Harry Oster recordings, these works on Imperial are New Orleans R&B in the style for which he is widely known today. After Imperial, in 1964, he recorded alone at his home with a guitar for the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation, released as I Blueskvarter 1964: Vol.3. For the remainder of the 1960s, he apparently made no recordings.

His next work came on the Swedish label Sonet in 1971. Another album Down Yonder was released in 1978 featuring Ellis Marsalis on piano. Apart from his own work, he joined recording sessions with Professor Longhair in 1971 and 72 (Mardi Gras in Baton Rouge). He also played some funky guitars on The Wild Magnolias' first album recorded in 1973.

He joined Nauman and Hammond Scott of Black Top Records in the 1980s which led to a recording contract with the label. Eaglin's Black Top years had been the most consistent years of his recording career. Between 1987 and 1999, he recorded four studio albums and a live album, and appeared as a guest on a number of recordings by other Black Top artists, including Henry Butler, Earl King, and Tommy Ridgley.

After Black Top Records closed its doors, Eaglin released The Way It Is on Money Pit Records, produced by the same Scott brothers of Black Top.

Eaglin died of a heart attack at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans on February 18, 2009. He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008 and had been hospitalized for treatment. He was scheduled to make a comeback appearance at the New Orleans Jazz Fest in Spring of 2009.

For many years, Eaglin lived in St. Rose in the suburbs of New Orleans with his wife Dorothea. Though he did not play many live shows, he regularly performed at Rock n' Bowl in New Orleans, and also at the New Orleans Jazz Fest.

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Earl King

Earl King on stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, 1997

Earl King (February 7, 1934 – April 17, 2003) was a singer, guitarist, and songwriter, most active in blues music. Being a composer of well known standards such as "Come On" (covered by Jimi Hendrix), and Professor Longhair's "Big Chief", he is considered to be one of the most important figures in New Orleans R&B music and beyond.

King was born with the name Earl Silas Johnson IV in New Orleans, Louisiana. His father, a local piano player, died when King was still a baby, and he was brought up by his mother. With his mother, he started going to church at an early age. In his youth he sang gospel music, but took the advice of a friend to switch to blues to make a better living.

King started to play guitar at age 15. Soon he started entering talent contests at local clubs including the Dew Drop Inn. It was at one of those clubs where he met his idol Guitar Slim. King started imitating Slim, and his presence gave a big impact on his musical directions. In 1954, when Slim was injured in an automobile accident (right around the time Slim had the #1 R&B hit with "The Things That I Used To Do"), King was deputized to continue Slim's band tour, representing himself as Slim. After succeeding in this role, King became a regular at the Dew Drop Inn.

His first recording came in 1953. He released a 78 "Have you Gone Crazy b/w Begging At Your Mercy" on Savoy label as Earl Johnson. The following year, talent scout Johnny Vincent introduced King to Specialty label and he recorded some sides including "Mother's Love" which created a little stir locally. In 1955, King signed with Johnny Vincent's label, Ace. His first single from the label "Those Lonely, Lonely Nights" become huge hit reaching #7 on the R&B chart. He continued to record during his stay at the label which lasted for 5 years, and during the time, he also he started writing songs for other artists such as Roland Stone and Jimmy Clanton.

In 1972, he was joined by Allen Toussaint and the Meters to record the album "Street Parade". Though Atlantic initially showed interest in releasing it, they eventually declined. The title cut "Street Parade" was released as a single from Kansu label at the time, but the rest had to wait till 1982 to see the light of the day when the album was finally released by Charly in UK.

During the 1970s, he recorded another album "That Good Old New Orleans Rock 'n Roll" which was released by Sonet in 1977. He also is on "New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 1976" album.

In the early 1980s, he met Hammond Scott, co-owner of Black Top Records and started to record for the label. The first album "Glazed", backed up by Roomful of Blues was released in 1986. Second Album "Sexual Telephathy" came in 1990. It featured Snooks Eaglin as a guest on 2 tracks, and also Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters backed him up on some tracks. His third from the label "Hard River To Cross" (1993) was backed by stalwarts such as George Porter, Jr., David Torkanowsky, and Herman V. Ernest, III, and probably the most solid effort among his Black Top releases. Though he sounds well on this release, his health slowly went downhill thereafter, and he did not record again before he died in 2003.

In fall of 2001, he was hospitalized for an illness during a tour to New Zealand, however, that did not stop him from performing. In December of the same year, he toured Japan, and he continued to perform off and on locally in New Orleans until his death.

He died on April 17, 2003, just a week before the New Orleans Jazz Fest. His funeral was held during the Fest period on April 30, and many musicians including Dr. John, Leo Nocentelli and Aaron Neville were in attendance. His Imperial recordings, which have been long out-of-print, were reissued on CD soon after he died. The June 2003 issue of a local music magazine OffBeat paid a tribute to King by doing special articles on him.

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Arhoolie Records

Arhoolie Records (El Cerrito, California) is a small record label run by Chris Strachwitz. The label was founded by Strachwitz in 1960 as a way for him to record and publish previously obscure "down home blues" artists such as Lightnin' Hopkins, Snooks Eaglin and Bill Gaither. Arhoolie still publishes blues and folk music, Tejano music including Lydia Mendoza and regional Mexican music, cajun, zydeco, and bluegrass... the best of "roots" music.

Other artists who recorded for the Arhoolie label include: Dave Alexander, Nathan Beauregard, Juke Boy Bonner, Clifton Chenier, Elizabeth Cotten, Jesse Fuller, Earl Hooker, John Jackson, Mance Lipscomb, Mississippi Fred McDowell, 'Whistlin' Alex Moore, Charlie Musselwhite, Doctor Ross, Bukka White, Big Joe Williams, Black Ace, BeauSoleil, Jerry Hahn, the Savoy Family Band, the Pine Leaf Boys, and Rose Maddox.

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John Mooney (musician)

John Mooney at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, 2004

John Mooney (born April 3, 1955 in East Orange, New Jersey, USA) is an American blues guitarist and singer based in New Orleans, Louisiana. He has developed a unique music style by combining the Mississippi Delta style blues with the funky second line beat of New Orleans. As a guitarist, he is especially known for his impressive slide guitar work.

John Mooney was born raised in Rochester, New York, and he left home when he was 15. The following year, he met Son House, a legendary Mississippi bluesman who became a huge musical influence on him.

In 1976, Mooney moved to New Orleans, and soon he was playing with host of legendary musicians in the New Orleans R&B circuit including Earl King, The Meters, Snooks Eaglin and Professor Longhair.

He released his first album Comin' Your Way on Blind Pig Records in 1979. In 1981, he formed his own band Bluesiana with whom he has been recording and touring with since. He has released albums from several different labels including Against the Wall on nationally distributed House of Blues label in the U.S., and also others from German labels CrossCut and Ruf. In 2000, he returned to Blind Pig to release Gone to Hell which featured Dr. John as a special guest. All I Want followed two years later on the label.

His latest release Big Ol' Fiya was nominated for Blues Music Awards' "Contemporary Blues Album of the Year" in 2006.

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Alfred "Uganda" Roberts

Alfred "Uganda" Roberts (born April 8, 1943) is a conga/percussion player.

Born and raised in the historic Treme neighborhood of New Orleans, Roberts took an interest in Calypso rhythms from a young age, being introduced to the music by attending clubs frequented by the many sea and portsmen who sailed back and forth between New Orleans and the Caribbean.

Initially beginning his career in music in his early teens, playing bongos in clubs in the French Quarter, Roberts switched to the congas in his early 20s by the encouragement of jazz drummer, Smokey Johnson. After becoming an in demand conga/percussion player in New Orleans, Roberts established a relationship with fellow Treme resident and neighbor, record producer Allen Toussaint, leading to Roberts becoming a house percussionist in Toussaint's Sea Saint Studios, playing on recordings such as The Meters' Afrika and Hey Pocky Way, as well as Toussaint's 1972 album, Life, Love, and Faith.

In 1972, Roberts was introduced to New Orleans pianist Henry Roland Byrd, better known to the public as Professor Longhair. It was at the 2nd annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival that Jazz Fest producer/founder Quint Davis introduced the two musicians, and Roberts would go on to tour and record with Professor Longhair for eight years, until Professor Longhair's death in 1980. Roberts is featured on Professor Longhair's Rock N Roll Gumbo (1977), featuring Louisiana blues musicians Snooks Eaglin and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, as well as Fess' last studio album ever recorded, Crawfish Fiesta (1980). The London Concert (recorded 1978, released 1994) is a duo performance by Professor Longhair and Roberts.

Roberts toured with Willie Tee and the Wild Magnolias off and on from 1980 until 1986, when he took a hiatus from the music industry, occasionally coming out of his semi-retirement to tour and record - such as on Dr. John’s albums Goin’ Back to New Orleans (1992) and Dis, Dat, or D’udda (2004).

One evening in 2007, Roberts was invited by the young funk band Groovesect to join them on stage at New Orleans' Maple Leaf Bar, starting a relationship that would result in Roberts joining the band and recording on Groovesect's debut album, On The Brim.

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Source : Wikipedia