Sunday, September 03, 2006

Bukka White

Bukka White was born Booker T. Washington White, in Houston, Mississippi, on November 1909. At age nine, Bukka received his first guitar and began playing immediately after. Along with the influences of his family (his father was a railroad worker and part-time musician), Bukka's musical career was influenced by blues artists such as George "Bullet" Williams and Charley Patton. As a teenager Bukka worked as a field hand and played at juke joints and parties. In 1920, he moved to St. Louis to play in the clubs. At age sixteen, Bukka married Jesse Bea and moved back to Houston.

White's musical breakthrough came around 1930 when Ralph Lembo, an agent for the Victor recording label, sent White to record some of his songs in Memphis. In 1934, White married Susie Simpson (his first wife had passed in 1928), the niece of blues artist George "Bullet" Williams.

In 1937, White was imprisoned for assault at Parchman Farm. However, this did not stop White from making music. In September of 1937, White recorded one of his hit songs, "Shake 'em on Down". During the1950's his musical career was fairly dormant and Bukka became a common laborer. Fortunately, White was "re-discovered" in 1963. In 1967, he toured Europe with the American Folk Blues Festival, in 1973, played with his first cousin, B.B. King, at the New Orleans Heritage Festival, and in that same year, White was nominated for a Grammy award. He passed away in 1977 at the nage 65. MP3: Shake 'em On Down


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