March 8: Mississippi John Hurt was born in 1892

Photo: Rowland Scherman

“The Blues ain’t nothin’ but a good woman on your mind.”
~Mississippi John Hurt

No blues singer ever presented a more gentle, genial image than Mississippi John Hurt. A guitarist with an extraordinarily lyrical and refined fingerpicking style, he also sang with a warmth unique in the field of blues, and the gospel influence in his music gave it a depth and reflective quality unusual in the field.
~Bruce Eder (allmusic.com)

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March 6: Furry Lewis Birthday

Good Morning, Judge.
What will be my fine?
Good Morning, Judge.
What will be my fine?
He said I’m glad I got to see you,
That’ll be a dollar forty-nine.

They arrested me for forgery, I can’t even sign my name
(Judge Harsh Blues)

Furry Lewis was the only blues singer of the 1920s to achieve major media attention in the ’60s and ’70s. One of the most recorded Memphis-based guitarists of the late ’20s, Lewis’ subsequent fame 40 years later was based largely on the strength of those early sides. One of the very best blues storytellers, and an extremely nimble-fingered guitarist into his seventies, he was equally adept at blues and ragtime, and made the most out of an understated, rather than an overtly flamboyant style.
~Bruce Eder (allmusic.com)

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February 18: Ray Charles recorded What’d I Say in 1959

Ray_Charles_-_What'd_I_Say

I’m not one to interpret my own songs, but if you can’t figure out ‘What I Say’, then something’s wrong. Either that, or you’re not accustomed to the sweet sounds of love.
—Ray Charles

The feel comes from gospel but the resulting witty, elegant essay on rhythm and sex and why they’re inseparable is purely pagan.
~Dave Marsh (The Heart of Rock & Soul)

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February 16: The late Otis Blackwell was born in 1931

otis blackwell

I like this town, it’s really great. They’ve put me in The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. This town is about music. It’s about the kind of music I like.
~Otis Blackwell

I used to go down every year for the remembrance of Elvis’ birthday. Memphis State College invited me to sit in the auditorium and speak to the people for one of those Elvis days.
~Otis Blackwell

Blackwell’s songwriting style is as identifiable as that of Willie Dixon or Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller. He helped formulate the musical vocabulary of rock & roll when the genre was barely breathing on its own.
~Bill Dahl (allmusic.com)

All Shook Up -Elvis Presley:

Great Balls Of Fire – Jerry Lee Lewis:

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February 11: Hank Williams Lovesick Blues was released in 1949

hank williams lovesick blues

I got a feelin’ called the blues, oh Lord
Since my baby said goodbye
Lord I don’t know what I’ll do
All I do is sit and sigh, oh Lord

Hank Williams signature song was released 69 years ago today.

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