* 2007 GRAMMY AWARD-WINNER BEST TRADITIONAL BLUES ALBUM OF THE YEAR
* Featuring performances by Blues Legends: Henry James Townsend, Robert Lockwood, Jr., Joe Willie "Pinetop" Perkins, and David "Honeyboy" Edwards
* One night, Four of the Greatest American Blues Legends, 18 unforgettable songs
HISTORY IN THE MAKING
Once in a lifetime you may experience a brief moment when the stars align and something truly extraordinary happens. This was the case in October 2004, when four of the greatest living blues legends were assembled in Dallas, Texas for one incomparable night of music. At the time they ranged in age from 89 to 94 and all had received the National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship Award, the highest honor in the USA for traditional arts. These musicians have devoted their entire life to playing the blues, and staging such an epic event was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Once reunited, the old magic reemerged. It was if they were long lost school buddies. There was a time when Dallas was viewed as an epicenter for the blues. It was home to such legends as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Huddie “Ledbelly” Ledbetter, T-Bone Walker, Freddie King and others. The Longhorn Ballroom in Dallas and the Magnolia in Fort Worth catered to well-dressed audiences who were transfixed by the soulful shouts of Johnny Taylor, the screaming Telecaster of Albert Collins and the eerie cry of Albert King’s Flying V. On October 16th, 2004, Dallas once again reclaimed its place as a blues capitol when the four remaining elders of the blues reunited on the stage of the historic Majestic Theater for a grand performance. It was a night that was 90 years in the making, but will live on for eternity.
HENRY JAMES TOWNSEND
He goes by the name of Henry James Townsend but his friends call him “The Mule”. Though the nickname’s origin is a mystery, it could refer to his stubborn will to keep playing. At the time of this recording, the dean of St. Louis blues and reigning patriarch of the blues, Henry James never had played Dallas in his 94 years. He is the only American recording artist to have recorded in every decade since the 1920’s. Henry’s music is a unique combination of country and city blues, tempered with just the right amount of influences from Lonnie Johnson and Roosevelt Sykes. The best part about Henry is the wisdom he shares with the audience about his life and his music. It’s insightful, provocative and timeless.
JOE WILLIE "PINETOP" PERKINS
Born July 7, 1913 in Belzoni, Mississippi, Grammy Award
winner Joe Willie “Pinetop” Perkins took up piano mid-career after he was stabbed in the arm. Early on, Perkins
accompanied such blues legends as Big Joe Williams and
Sonny Boy Williamson. By 1953, he was well known as both a
back-up player and solo act. This was also the year he made his first solo recording with Sun Records. Now living in Austin, Perkins used to visit Texas regularly when he played piano for the legendary Muddy Waters Band. Today, “Pinetop” Perkins is regarded as one of the world’s greatest blues and boogiewoogie piano players.
DAVID “HONEYBOY” EDWARDS
David "Honeyboy" Edwards was born June 28, 1915 in Shaw,
Mississippi. To listen to Mr. Edwards and his skilled slide
guitar playing is to journey back in time to the Mississippi Delta and the street corners of Clarksdale, Mississippi. There, Honeyboy played a pivotal role in shaping the seminal moments of blues history. He is sought after by documentary filmmakers for his detailed accounts of blues folklore, especially his recollections of the day Robert Johnson died. He describes Deep Ellum, east of downtown Dallas, as if it were yesterday. He recounts with incredible accuracy his escapades near the “Central Track” (now Central Expressway) that bordered the west side of this area known for its colorful nightlife in the 30’s and 40’s.
ROBERT LOCKWOOD, JR.
Ninety-year-old Robert Lockwood, Jr. or “Robert Jr.” to his friends used to “play” one-month gigs in Fort Worth during the 50’s and 60’s. He learned to play guitar from the legendary Robert Johnson, who lived with Lockwood’s mother during his formative years. He learned his first song, “Sweet Home Chicago”, in about three weeks under Johnson’s tutelage. Robert is also one of the original King Biscuit Boys who once opened for King Biscuit Time, now the longest running live radio show in America. Today, Mr. Lockwood is recognized as one of the most prolific guitar players in the world. His unique chord progressions have earned him two honorary doctorate degrees for music theory.
THE BLUE SHOE PROJECT
The legends of the blues and those influenced by it are aging or passing and with it their rich history and culture. These legendary figures made a profound impact on American music and our society. Students at all levels should know it, be proud of it and experience it. The blues is America’s gift to the world, idolized around the globe, and no other culture can lay claim to its mighty influence. As a learning organization, our mission is to educate students on the blues and their heritage. Texas played a pivotal role in that heritage. Texas blues legends such as Blind Lemon Jefferson, T-Bone Walker, Sippie Wallace, Victoria Spivey, Lightnin' Hopkins, Albert Collins, Freddie King, Johnnie Taylor and Stevie Ray Vaughan all left an indelible mark on Texas and the world. Every opportunity should be taken to promote this rich history for the benefit of our youth and our community. www.BlueShoeProject.org