I don't mean to overdo my writing about the death of bluesman Lousiana Red over the weekend, but it seems to me that Red has yet to get a fair shake in the mainstream media. The British newspaper The Guardian is the only major news outlet where I've found an obit online.
Maybe others will come along, but it's a shame that the man and his excellent body of work have received so little coverage. As I noted earlier, Red had lived in Germany for many years, and that could be part of the reason. But he still a powerful and influential voice in American music.
I got an email Sunday from Helmut Krug, a German fan of Red's, and apparently a big blues fan as well, after searching for information on Red, and finding little but what BlueNotes had written. With his permission, I'm posting his email heres so you can get another perspective on Red's life.
I read your articles on Louisiana Red and would like to thank you for honoring him. Not too many other obituaries to be found on the net otherwise. What a shame.
I just wanted to let you know, you guessed right, Red did get a lot of respect in Germany and around Europe as a matter of fact.
Lucky for us in Germany, we did get to see him a lot over the more than 30 years that he lived in our country. I must have seen him at least a dozen times between the mid - Eighties and last year. Several times I saw him less than 25 miles away from my home in northern Bavaria / Germany.
But the best I've seen him at was on Beale Street two years ago, the day after he had won two Blues Music Awards. He was so fired up, very obviously overjoyed that he had finally gotten some recognition in his home country.
Otherwise Red was very bitter about the US, where he had been treated so bad. I know this not only from what I've read, but from several conversations I had with him, mainly before or after shows.
Going to the BMA's in 2010 I was lucky to be on the same flight with Red going from Amsterdam to Memphis and again on the way back. Coming "home" to Germany he was a different man. From all that I know I am sure that the 2010 BMA's crowned his career.
May he rest easy now!
Helmut Krug, Baiersdorf, Germany