As I wrote yesterday, the great traditional bluesman Louisiana Red died yesterday at the age of 79.
I want to add to those comments, since not much has been written yet about his death; the media has not caught up with it. That's sort of understandable, since he was a bluesman's bluesman, and not exactly a household word. Although all the blues fans that I know do know who is is, and respect and admire his talents as a singer, songwriter and guitar player. And he spent a great deal of his life living in Germany, where he probably got a lot more respect as an American artist than he did in his own country.
But in recent years, he had returned for some concerts and released a couple of CDs that won critical acclaim and a few awards along the way. Here's what I wrote last year about one of those albums -- "Memphis Mojo."
A quick read of any of biographies show that Red (Iverson Minter) had a rough childhood -- his mother died shortly after he was born and his father was lynched when Red was very young -- some accounts say he was 5. I've read various accounts of his life, and some dates seem to vary, including his birth date, but it seems he was born in 1932. After bouncing around the states for a while, he settled in Germany around 1981, releasing a number of albums in the U.S. in the '90s and the 2000s.
But even though there seem to be some errors about about when things happened, there's no doubt about his skill and artistry as a bluesman. And that's what we'll remember most.
Phoenix harp player Bob Corritore, with whom Red worked in the early '80s, has written eloquently about the emotion that Red put into his music, often playing in tears at the feeling in his music.
I hope some of the major media pick up on his death, and give him the sendoff he deserves.
Here's another video of Red, playing an autobiographical song, "Orphanage Blues" (I think you can hear him mention Washington County):