Blues Birthdays: October 22nd-28th

L.C McKinley – October 22, 1918

Chicago Blues Guitarist L.C McKinley was born Larry McKinley in Winona, Mississippi. L.C McKinley is a little-known blues guitarist who left his home in Winona, Mississippi, to dive into the Chicago blues. He relocated his family there in 1941 and after a few years started playing professional gigs in the Chicago area. By the early 50’s he was a regular performer at the 708 club where he occasionally topped the bill and accompanied the Ernest Cotton Trio, pianist Eddie Boyd, and many of Chicago’s best blues players. He started recording for various labels and musicians like Curtis Jones, Parrot Records, and backing Boyd on “Five Long Years”, which topped the number one spot on the Billboard R&B chart. In 1955, he had signed with Vee-Jay Records, where he recorded the singles “Strange Girl” and “She’s Five Feet Three.” Sunnyland label in the UK released his last recordings made in 1964.

Willie Mabon – October 24th, 1925

Singer, songwriter, and pianist Willie James Mabon moved to Chicago in 1942 where he soon formed the group the Blues Rockers. In 1949 they began for Aristocrat Records and then Chess Records, where he released “I Don’t Know” in 1952, the song hit number one on the Billboard R&B chart and became one of the most popular of the era. It was also Chess Record’s biggest hit before their success with Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry. The song was covered by Tennessee Ernie Ford and became one of the first R&B hits to ever be covered by a white musician. Mabon went on to have a second number one hit with “I’m Mad” in 1953, and his songs have since been covered by Freddie King, The Blues Brothers, John Mellencamp, Rod Stewart and many more.

Bill Wyman – October 24th, 1936

English born musician, record producer, songwriter and singer Bill Wyman had first shot to fame as The Rolling Stones bass guitarist from 1962 till 1993. During his time with The Rolling Stones they achieved over 30 top 40 UK & US singles and albums and in 1969 scored the number 1 single with “Honky Tonk Women”.  For the last 20 years, he has toured with his backing band, The Rhythm Kings, which features Georgie Fortune and Albert Lee. Outside of his touring career, he also has a very impressive background. He has produced records, films, and music scores for movies and television. A photography career, Wyman’s work has been displayed in art galleries around the world. He is noted as an inventor, for heavily modifying a secondhand Dallas Tuxedo bass to build his own fretless bass guitar. A sharp businessman, he owns several restaurants and clubs. He has even written several books, which include his Bill Wyman’s Blues Odyssey: A Journey to Music’s Heart & Soul where he describes his personal history of the blues and the musicians who inspired him.

James Henry “Jimmy” Dawkins  – October 24th, 1936

Jimmy Dawkins was a regular on the modern electric Chicago blues scene and known for his “West Side sound”. Moving from Mississippi to Chicago in 1955, he found work in a box factory and started gaining recognition as a session musician when he started to play in local blues clubs. Dawkins recorded his first album, Fast Fingers, in 1969 and then his second album two years later, All for Business, with Andrew Odom and Otis Rush. His success continued, and he began touring internationally in the late 1970’s, backed by musicians such as James Solberg and Jon Preizler. Dawkins contributing to a column in blues magazine Living Blues and then in the 1980’s he started his own record label, Leric Records, where he promoted artists such as Nora Jean Bruso and Queen Slyvia Embry.

L.V. Banks  – October 28th, 1932

Chicago blues musician L.V. Banks was a self-taught guitar player, he fronted a blues band in Mississippi and his style was strongly influenced by Howlin’ Wolf, Little Milton, and B.B. King. After he was drafted into the U.S. Army, the veteran relocated to Chicago in 1965 where he got a job on Maxwell street before being a local fixture in clubs on the south side for three decades. He mentored Marty Sammon as a teen and Banks soon reached international success through a recording contract with Wolf Records where he released two albums.

 

Devon Ebersold for Keeping the Blues Alive

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