Today in Blues History
In 1977, Ethel Waters died in Chatsworth, CA. Aside from her later success on Broadway, Film, and Television, Waters was originally a blues singer in the 1920’s. Some of her recordings from her early career were Dinah; Am I Blue?: Heebie Jeebies; Sweet Georgia Brown; Someday, Sweetheart; (What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue; West End Blues; and Organ Grinder Blues.
In 2005, R.L. (Robert Lee) Burnside died in Memphis, TN. Despite studying guitar with the legendary Mississippi Fred McDowell and being related (through marriage) to Muddy Waters, Burnside found little success during his early career and after leaving Chicago, he was incarcerated at Parchman Farm for murder. He continued to perform after he was released and eventually found fame beginning around 1980. His style continues to influence many musicians including The Black Keys.