News & Updates

Alvin Cash / Feb 15, 1939 - Nov 21, 1999

Alvin Cash / Feb 15, 1939 - Nov 21, 1999

Happy birthday to the R&B singer & dancer Alvin Cash, of Alvin Cash & The Crawlers, Alvin Cash & The Registers and Alvin Cash & The Hundred Dollar Bills fame. Born Alvin Welch, he grew up in St Louis as one of eight children. He and some of his brothers started singing and tap-dancing and they went to school with the future Tina Turner, Luther Ingram and Billy Davis (of The Fifth Dimension). Cash and three of his brothers moved to Chicago in '61 and a few years later hooked up with producer Andre Williams and recorded "Twine Time" (credited...

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John Trudell / Feb 15, 1946 - Dec 8, 2015

John Trudell / Feb 15, 1946 - Dec 8, 2015

Part Mexican-American and part Santee-Dakota Sioux, the inspired poet/musician/actor/activist John Trudell grew up on a reservation in Nebraska and became heavily involved in the Red Power & American Indian Movements and was also a hemp advocate (alongside Willie Nelson). In '69 he was the spokesman & broadcaster for the All Tribes Occupation of Alcatraz Island, which put him right in the FBI's crosshairs. His entire family (including his children) all died in a suspicious fire the day after Trudell burned an American flag on the steps of the FBI building in '79. Soon after, his poetry career started. His first...

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Kokomo Arnold / Feb 15, 1901 - Nov 8, 1968

Kokomo Arnold / Feb 15, 1901 - Nov 8, 1968

James "Kokomo" Arnold may be the source of three famous blues songs: "Milk Cow Blues", "Sweet Home Chicago" was arranged by Robert Johnson from "Kokomo Blues", and "Dust My Broom" was rooted in "Sagefield Woman Blues". He was quite popular in the '30s and played a mean left-handed bottleneck slide guitar in his own time signatures and presented a dynamic voice. He was originally from Georgia but moved north to Buffalo, Pittsburgh and then Chicago in the late '20s, where he was involved in the bootlegging game. He went to Memphis in '30 to make his first recording (under the name...

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Magic Sam / Feb 14, 1937 - Dec 1, 1969

Magic Sam / Feb 14, 1937 - Dec 1, 1969

Sam Maghett aka Magic Sam! Not just the best barbecue on Chicago's West Side, but also one of my very favorite blues guitar players and singers! From his first record "All Your Love" (as Good Rockin' Sam, for the Cobra label) in 1957 until his early death in 1969 (just 32!), his rockin' sound and pleading voice was a staple on the blues circuit. Born in the Mississippi Delta into a family of sharecroppers, he built his own cigar-box guitars as a kid and when the family moved to Chicago in 1950 he had his eyes on the prize and...

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Glenn Spearman / Feb 14, 1947 - Oct 8, 1998

Glenn Spearman / Feb 14, 1947 - Oct 8, 1998

The should've-been-better-known out-jazz tenor player (and bass clarinetist) Glenn Spearman brought a powerful lyricism and fierce beauty to great records by Cecil Taylor, Emergency (a group he co-founded in Paris with Bob Reid), Raphe Malik, Marco Eneidi, Trio Hurricane, John Heward and William Hooker. He also worked with Rova Saxophone Quartet and his own groups, such as G-Force and his classic Interstellar Space-inspired duo album Night After Night with Don Robinson. He was a major part of the Bay Area avant-garde & out-jazz scenes beginning in the late '60s and was on staff at Mills College. I have seem him...

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