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Archive for the ‘Black Blues Artist’ Category

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For October 15


Victoria Spivey

1. Victoria Spivey, Blues Singer and Pianist, Her first professional experience was in a family string band led by her father in Houston. She also played on her own at local parties and, in 1918, was hired to accompany films at the Lincoln Theater in Dallas. As a teenager, she worked in local bars, nightclubs, and buffet flats, mostly alone, but occasionally with singer-guitarists such as Blind Lemon Jefferson. In 1926, she moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where she was signed by Okeh Records. Her first recording, “Black Snake Blues”, did well, and her association with the record label continued. She made numerous Okeh sides in New York until 1929, then switched to the RCA Victor label. Between 1931 and 1937, more recordings followed on the Vocalion and Decca labels, and, working out of New York, she maintained an active performance schedule. Spivey’s recorded accompanists included King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Lonnie Johnson, and Red Allen. She recorded many of her own songs, which dwelt on disease, crime and outré sexual images.

The Depression did not put an end to Spivey’s musical career, but she had found a new outlet for her talent in the year of the crash, when film director King Vidor cast her to play “Missy Rose” in his first sound film, Hallelujah!. Through the 1930s and 1940s, Spivey continued to work in musical films and stage shows, often with her husband, vaudeville dancer Billy Adams, including the Hellzapoppin’ Revue.

Nellie Lutcher

2. Nellie Lutcher, R&B and jazz Vocalist and pianist, who gained prominence in the late 1940s and early 1950s. She was most recognizable for her her diction and exaggerated pronunciation, and was credited as an influence by Nina Simone among others.

Mickey Baker

3. Mickey “Guitar” Baker, Vocalist and Guitaristis .   He is widely held to be a critical force in the bridging of rhythm and blues and rock and roll, along with Bo Diddley, Ike Turner, and Chuck Berry.

Marv Johnson

4. Marv Johnson, R&B and soul singer, most notable for performing on the first record to be issued from what became Motown.   He began his career singing with a doo-wop group called the Serenaders in the mid 1950s. With budding talents not only as a singer but as a songwriter and pianist, he was discovered by Berry Gordy while Johnson performed at a carnival.  Gordy had already decided to form his first record label, Tamla, and Johnson’s recording of “Come to Me” became the label’s first single in May 1959.  The fledgling label did not have national distribution and so the song was released by United Artists, and reached #30 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.  Between 1959 and 1961, Johnson would issue nine Billboard Hot 100 singles including two Top 10s. The first of them was “You Got What It Takes”, which reached #10 in the US and #7 in the UK Singles Chart. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.   “I Love The Way You Love” reached #9. He scored his final US Top 40 single in 1960 with “(You’ve Got To) Move Two Mountains”. It also sold a million copies, giving Johnson his second gold disc.

Tito Jackson

5. Tito Jackson, singer and lead guitarist and original member of The Jackson 5. He is the older brother of American pop stars Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson.

Eric Benet

6. Eric Benet, singer. His duet with Tamia, “Spend My Life With You” was a number one song for three weeks on the US Billboard R&B chart and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2000.

Ginuwine

7. Elgin Baylor Lumpkin, better known by his stage name Ginuwine, Is an American singer and performer. Signed to Epic Records since the mid-1990s, Ginuwine had released a number of multi-platinum and platinum-selling albums and singles, becoming one of R&B’s top artists during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s .

Keyshia Cole

8. Keyshia Michelle Cole-Gibson, Hip-Hop and Soul recording artist from Oakland, California. She gained nationwide success when she released her platinum selling debut, The Way It Is in June 2005. Her sophomore album Just Like You came in production shortly after that and was released in September 2007. Her third studio album, A Different Me was released on December 16, 2008 and is certified Gold for selling 900,000+ units in the United States. She also achieved moderate success for her reality/documentary series Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is which aired on BET from 2006-2008 which gave a close look at Cole’s career and personal life with her biological mother and sister. In December 2010, she released her fourth studio album, Calling All Hearts.

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For October 14


Silas Joseph Si Simmons

1. Silas Joseph “Si” Simmons, semi-professional and professional baseball player for African-American teams in the pre-Negro League era, and became the longest-lived professional baseball player in history. 

James Son Thomas

2. James “Son” Thomas, Delta blues musician, gravedigger and sculptor from Leland, Mississippi

Jimmy Liggins

3. Jimmy Liggins,  R&B Vocalist, guitarist and bandleader.  Liggins started out as a professional boxer at age 18 under the name of Kid Zulu, then he quit boxing and took up driving his brother Joe’s outfit around on tour.   Following the success of his brother, Jimmy Liggins started his own recording career as a singer, guitarist, and leader of the ‘Drops of Joy’, on Art Rupe’s Specialty label in 1947.   One of his early releases, “Cadillac Boogie” was a direct forerunner of “Rocket 88”, itself often called the first rock and roll record.

Recordings such as “Tear Drop Blues” (1948) and, later, “I Ain’t Drunk” (1953), featuring leading saxophone players such as Maxwell Davis, made him one of the most successful bandleaders in the jump blues period of the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Liggins left Specialty in 1954, recording “I Ain’t Drunk” (1954), later covered by Albert Collins, at Aladdin, before fading from the scene.  His wild stage presence and manic delivery also had a direct and lasting impact on Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Bill Haley.

Karyn White

4. Karyn White, Pop and R&B singer who became popular during the late 1980s.

Usher

5. Usher Terry Raymond IV, who performs under the mononym Usher, is a singer-songwriter, dancer, entrepreneur, and actor. He is considered around the world to be the reigning King of R&B.   Usher rose to fame in the late 1990s with the release of his second album My Way, which spawned his first Billboard Hot 100 number-one hit, “Nice and Slow”. His follow-up album, 8701, produced the Billboard Hot 100 number one hits “U Remind Me” and “U Got It Bad”. Both albums sold over 8 million copies worldwide, establishing Usher as one of the best-selling R&B artists of the 1990s.

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For October 12


Nappy Brown

1. Napoleon Brown Goodson Culp,  better known by his stage name Nappy Brown, was an American R&B singer. His hits include the 1955 Billboard chart #2, “Don’t Be Angry” and “Night Time Is the Right Time”. His style is instantly recognizable; Brown used a wide vibrato, melisma, and distinctive extra syllables, in particular, “li-li-li-li-li.”

Dick Gregory

2. Dick Gregory, comedian, social activist, social critic, writer, and entrepreneur.
Gregory is an influential American comic who has used his performance skills to convey to both white and black audiences his political message on civil rights. His social satire changed the way white Americans perceived African American comedians since he first performed in public.

Influenced to stand up for civil rights by his early surroundings of poverty and violence, Gregory was one of the first comedians to successfully perform for both black and white audiences

Sam MooreSam and Dave

3. Sam Moore,  is an American Southern Soul and Rhythm & Blues (R&B) singer who was the tenor vocalist for the soul vocal duo Sam & Dave from 1961 through 1981. Sam Moore is a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Grammy Hall of Fame (for “Soul Man”, The Vocal Group Hall of Fame, and a Grammy Award and a multi-Gold Record award winning recording artist. Sam & Dave were the most successful and critically acclaimed duo in Soul Music history. Moore has also achieved a distinguished 25 year career as a solo performing and recording artist.

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For October 09


O V Wright

1. Overton Vertis “O. V.” Wright , was one of Blues and R&B’s greatest singers who is regarded as one of Southern soul’s most authoritative and individual artists.  His best known songs are “That’s How Strong My Love Is” (1964), “You’re Gonna Make Me Cry” (1965), “Nucleus of Soul” (1968), “A Nickel and a Nail” (1971), “I Can’t Take It” (1971) and “Ace of Spades (song)” (1971), (I’d Rather Be Blind, Crippled and Crazy)

Nona Hendryx

2. Nona Hendryx,vocalist, producer, songwriter, musician, author, and actress.
Hendryx is known for her work as a solo artist as well as for being one-third of the trio Labelle, who had a hit with “Lady Marmalade.” Her music has ranged from soul, funk, dance, and R&B to hard rock, art rock, and World music.

Tyler James Williams

3. Tyler James Williams,  teen actor and voice actor. He is most recognizable for having played the title character of the Chris Rock-inspired sitcom Everybody Hates Chris.

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For October 03


 Timothy Thomas Fortune

1. Timothy (“T.”) Thomas Fortune, orator, civil rights leader, journalist, writer, editor and publisher.

Fortune started his education at Marianna’s first school for African Americans after the Civil War. He worked both as a page in the state senate and apprenticed as printer at a Jacksonville newspaper during the time that his father, Emanuel, was a Reconstruction politician in Florida. At one time he also worked at the Marianna Courier and later the Jacksonville Daily-Times Union. These experiences would be the start of a career wherein he would go on to have his work published in over twenty books and articles and in more than three hundred editorials.

Fortune went to work as an editor at the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League’s house organ, the Negro World, in 1923. At its height the Negro World had circulation of over 200,000. With distribution throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and in Central America it may have been the most widely distributed newspaper in the world at that time. During his tenure at the Negro World, Fortune rubbed shoulders with such literary luminaries as Zora Neale Hurston, W.A. Domingo, Hubert Harrison, and John E. Bruce, among others.

Fortune moved to Red Bank, New Jersey in 1901, where he built his home, Maple Hill. The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 8, 1976 and the New Jersey Register of Historic Places on August 16, 1979.

2. Josephine “Mama Jo” Riley Matthews, Delivered over 1,300 babies as a licensed midwife.

Albert Collins

3. Albert Collins, electric blues guitarist and singer (and occasional harmonica player) whose recording career began in the 1960s in Houston and whose fame eventually took him to stages across the US, Europe, Japan and Australia. He had many nicknames, such as “The Ice Man”, “The Master of the Telecaster”   and “The Razor Blade”.

Chubby Checker

4. Chubby Checker, Rock-n-Roll Singer (The Twist).singer-songwriter. He also popularized the dance style Twist, with his 1960 hit cover of Hank Ballard’s R&B hit “The Twist”. In September 2008, “The Twist” topped Billboard’s list of the most popular singles to have appeared in the Hot 100 since its debut in 1958.

Ronnie Laws

5. Ronnie Laws, jazz, blues and funk saxophonist. He is the younger brother of jazz flautist Hubert Laws.

Billy Branch

6. Billy Branch, blues harp player and singer of Chicago blues and harmonica blues. blues harp player and singer of Chicago blues and harmonica blues

Dave Winfield

7. Dave Winfield, former Major League Baseball outfielder. He is currently Executive Vice President/Senior Advisor of the San Diego Padres and an analyst for the ESPN program Baseball Tonight. Over his 22-year career, he played for six teams: the San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, California Angels, Toronto Blue Jays, Minnesota Twins, and Cleveland Indians. In 2004, ESPN named him the third-best all-around athlete of all time in any sport.  He is a member of both the Baseball Hall of Fame and the College Baseball Hall of Fame.

India Arie

8. India Arie,  is a Grammy Award-winning soul, R&B, and neo soul musician, songwriter, and producer. She has sold over 3.3 million records in the U.S. and 10 million worldwide. She has won four Grammy Awards, including Best R&B Album.

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For October 01


Fannie M. Richards

1. Fannie M. Richards,  an educator and civil rights activist, moved to Detroit with her family in the 1850s. She received her early education in the Detroit public schools before going to Toronto, Ontario, where she studied English, history and drawing. Returning to Detroit, Richards opened a private school for African Americans in 1863. Two years later, she was appointed to teach in Detroit’s segregated Colored School No. 2. In 1869, Richards and others, including future Republican governor John Bagley, filed suit with the Michigan Supreme Court, arguing that segregated public schools were unconstitutional. The court agreed, and in 1871 Richards became the first African American teacher in Detroit’s newly integrated school system.

George Wild Child Butler

2. Georgie “Wild Child” Butler, Bluesman, Harmonica.   Wild Child made a name for himself in the 50’s and early 60’s playing in Chicago and the rural juke joints in Alabama. He first recorded in 1964 and then hooked up with the legendary Willie Dixon who produced four Wild Child singles for Jewel Records from 1966 to 1968. Those sessions were highlighted by the dual harp numbers featuring Wild Child and the great Big Walter Horton.

Wild Child Butler’s resume is top notch. He has toured with Jimmy Rogers, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Cousin Joe and Roosevelt Sykes. His last two recordings were released in the ’90s on Rounder Records. Wild Child’s biggest influence is Sonny Boy Williamson II and yet his sound is all his own. A prolific songwriter, Wild Child Butler performs mostly his own compositions.

Donny Hathaway

3. Donny Hathaway, Soul and R&B Singer, Songwriter, Arranger, Keyboardist and record producer. Hathaway contracted with Atlantic Records in 1969 and with his first single for the Atco label, “The Ghetto, Part I” in early 1970.  His collaborations with Roberta Flack scored high on the charts and won him the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for the duet, “Where Is the Love” in 1973.

Roberto Kelly

4. Roberto Kelly, a former Outfielder in Major League Baseball and is currently the first base coach for the San Francisco Giants. He previously managed the Giants single A team, the Augusta Green Jackets.  Kelly played for several major league clubs. He was signed by the New York Yankees as an amateur free agent in 1982 and went on to play for the New York Yankees (1987–92 and 2000), Cincinnati Reds (1993–94), Atlanta Braves (1994), Montreal Expos (1995), Los Angeles Dodgers (1995), Minnesota Twins (1996–97), Seattle Mariners (1997) and Texas Rangers (1998–99).   He helped the Dodgers win the 1995 NL Western Division, the Mariners win the 1997 American League Western Division, and the Rangers win the 1998 and 1999 AL Western Division.

He was named to the 1992 American League All-Star Team and the 1993 National League All-Star Team.

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For Sept 30


Oscar Pettiford

1. Oscar Pettiford, was a jazz double bassist, cellist and composer known particularly for his pioneering work in bebop. 

In 1942 he joined the Charlie Barnet band and in 1943 gained wider public attention after recording with Coleman Hawkins on his “The Man I Love.” He also recorded with Earl Hines and Ben Webster around this time. He and Dizzy Gillespie led a bop group in 1943. In 1945 Pettiford went with Hawkins to California, where he appeared in The Crimson Canary, a mystery movie known for its jazz soundtrack, which also featured Josh White. He then worked with Duke Ellington from 1945 to 1948 and for Woody Herman in 1949 before working mainly as a leader in the 1950s.

As a leader he inadvertently discovered Cannonball Adderley. After one of his musicians had tricked him into letting Adderley, an unknown music teacher, onto the stand, he had Adderley solo on a demanding piece, on which Adderley performed impressively.

Cissy HoustonSweet Inspirations

2. Cissy Houston, a Grammy Award–winning American soul and gospel singer.    She led a very successful career as a backup singer for such artists as, Mahalia Jackson, Wishbone Ash and Aretha Franklin, and is now primarily a solo artist. She is the mother of singer and actress Whitney Houston and aunt of Dionne Warwick and the late Dee Dee Warwick.

In 1963, then about to give birth to daughter Whitney Houston, she formed the Sweet Inspirations which yielded the hits “Sweet Inspiration”, “I’m Blue”, “Why Am I Treated So Bad”.  Additional founding members were Doris Troy and niece Dee Dee Warwick. Later members (and the ones she recorded with on the Atlantic label) were Sylvia Shemwell, Estelle Brown and Myrna Smith. Throughout the mid-1960s, the group provided backup vocals for several artists, including Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Lou Rawls, Otis Redding, The Drifters, Dusty Springfield, Jimi Hendrix, and Van Morrison (for “Brown Eyed Girl”). Houston is the operatic soprano in the background on Franklin’s hit, “Ain’t No Way”. The group also sang backup for Elvis Presley in Las Vegas on his return to live performances during July and August 1969, and for Cissy’s niece Dionne Warwick.  Houston left the Sweet Inspirations in 1969 to pursue a solo career

Johnny Mathis

3. Johnny Mathis, Pop music singer. Starting his career with singles of standards, he became highly popular as an album artist, with several dozen of his albums achieving gold or platinum status, and 73 making the Billboard charts.  Johnny Mathis has sold 350 million records worldwide.

Z.Z. Hill

4. Z. Z. Hill (Arzell Hill),  blues singer, in the soul blues tradition, known for his 1970s and 1980s recordings for Malaco. His 1982 album, Down Home, stayed on the Billboard soul album chart for nearly two years.  The track “Down Home Blues” has been called the best-known blues song of the 1980s.  This track plus the songs  “Someone Else Is Steppin’ In”, and “Open House” have become R&B/Southern soul standards.

Elombe Brath

5. Elombe Brath, political activist,talk show host and co-founder of the Patrice Lumumba Coalition and cofounder of the first Naturally Natural (hair)beauty contest is born.

Frankie LymonFrankie Lymon and the teenagers

6. Frankie Lymon, R&B/Doo-Wop Musician. A native of the Harlem district of New York City, New York, Frank J. ‘Frankie’ Lymon was considered one of the first African-American teenage pop stars. The multi-talented Lymon formed the music group, ‘Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers,’ in 1956, at the age of 13, and installed himself as there lead singer. The other members of the group included Herman Santiago, Jimmy Merchant, and the late Joe Negroni and Sherman Garnes. The group soon released there debut single, ‘Why Do Falls In Love,’ which landed on the music charts and became a Top 40 hit.

Marilyn McCoo

7. Marilyn McCoo, Songstress (5th Dimensions) and later teamed with her husband Billy Davis Jr. they both were former members of the fifth Dimentions

Patrice Rushen

8. Patrice Rushen, a Grammy Award-winning R&B and jazz vocalist, composer and pianist.

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