Monday, November 06, 2006

Luther Allison

Luther Allison was born August 17, 1939, in Widener, AR, the 14th of 15 children, the son of cotton farmers. His parents moved to Chicago when he was in his early teens, but he had a solid awareness of blues before he left Arkansas, as he played organ in the church and learned to sing gospel in Widener as well.

It was while living with his family on Chicago's West Side that he had his first awareness of wanting to become a full-time bluesman, and he played bass behind guitarist Jimmy Dawkins, who Allison grew up with. Also in Allison's neighborhood were established blues greats like Freddie King, Magic Sam, and Otis Rush. He distinctly remembers everyone talking about Buddy Guy when he came to town from his native Louisiana.

His first album, Love Me Mama, was released in 1969 and afterwards he signed with Motown. Although his Motown albums got him to places he'd never been before, like Japan and new venues in Europe, the recordings didn't sell well. Allison settled outside of Paris, since France and Germany were such major markets for him. At home in the U.S., Allison continued to perform sporadically, when knowledgeable blues festival organizers or blues societies would book him. In July of 1997, he was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. Just over a month later, he died. MP3: Move From The Wood


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