Blues Heroes | CeDell Davies

Fat Possom just has to be the best name for a record label ever.

They’re an American independent record label based in Oxford, Mississippi. They started out by recording relatively unknown blues artists from the North Mississippi region: their most famous being R.L. Burnside.

My personal favourite artist recorded by Fat Possum is CeDell Davies. I first heard his music when I was researching one of his fellow Possum artists Asie Payton.

The first song I heard from CeDell was the first one on this playlist:

CeDell Davies playlist on Spotify

My immediate thought was:

“Whoa, that’s a cool sound! Is that slide guitar, or something else?”

I hadn’t heard anything like it, so I had to know more.

When I looked up the biography details of CeDell Davies, I discovered why his guitar sound was so unique.

I also uncovered an incredible life story.

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Blues heroes | Buddy Guy

Buddy Guy, blues, autobiography

On a recent trip to New York I spent a happy couple of hours browsing the Barnes and Noble bookstore on East 17th Street. I love American bookstores. I love American books. They have a different feel in my hand as soon as I pick one up. There are other small differences too, such as the type-face.

The book I bought was a biography of Buddy Guy, by David Ritz.

Life being how it is, it took me almost a year to read it. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down.

Buddy Guy is considered among the best blues guitarists alive today. He was a regular session player at Chess Records. He was a sideman in the bands of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. He and Junior Wells formed a band of their own, and in the 1960s he became a recording star in his own right.

His life story (told in his own words) has so much to tell that I don’t feel one blog post could do it justice. Let’s start right at the beginning.

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Blues heroes | Junior Wells

“As a boy I was listening to Sonny Williamson records and I would close my eyes and visualize myself playing the harp.”

– Junior Wells

jr wells002

Photo by Brett Littlehales

One of the best-loved harp players in Chicago blues was Junior Wells. He took inspiration from the top living harmonica players and brought a passion and fire that was all his own.

Born and raised in West Memphis Arkansas, Wells learned from local blues hero Junior Parker. He was a skillful harmonica player by the time he was seven.

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