Wednesday, February 29, 2012

R.I. P. Louisiana Red

Louisiana Red, left, playing the Thirsty Ear Festival in 2006.
Also on stage is Dave "Honeyboy" Edwards, who died last year.
Ivorson Minter, better known as Louisiana Red, died over the weekend. He was 79.

Though a native of Alabama, Red moved to Germany in the 1980s. He died in a German hospital Saturday after slipping into a coma brought on by a thyroid imbalance, the Los Angeles Times reported.

From the Times obit:

Red's mother died within a week of his birth, and his father was lynched by members of the Ku Klux Klan when he was 5, prompting an aunt to place him in an orphanage. He later lived with his grandmother and an uncle in Pittsburgh.

He landed a deal with Chicago's influential Chess Records after playing a song over the phone for label co-owner Phil Chess, who sent him a bus ticket for Chicago. The man who picked Red up at the station to drive him to meet Chess was Muddy Waters, who was to become one of the label's biggest stars.

Waters and some of his band mates, including harmonica player Little Walter and guitarist Jimmy Rogers, played on some of Red's recordings, and he appeared on records by other blues artists including Waters and John Lee Hooker.
I was lucky enough to see him play back in 2006 at the Thirsty Ear Festival in Santa Fe -- on the same bill as Dave "Honeyboy" Edwards. During Honeyboy's set, Red joined him on stage for several songs.

Red's just the latest blues great to die in the last year or so. He joins Honeyboy, Etta James, Johnny Otis, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Pinetop Perkins and Big Jack Johnson in that great juke joint in the sky.

Enjoy this video from 2007:

 

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