Saturday, July 18, 2009

Celebrating Those Who Have Gone On

These posts keep reminding me how important it is to see these great performers before they are gone. Looking back, many of the great artists who played Alleyfest through the years have passed into that "big jam session in the sky." Here is a list of those artists and the year they played Longview:

Gary Primich (blues) ~ 1990 Rigadoon
Warren Caesar (zydeco) ~ 1992
Walter Hyatt (folk) ~ 1993
Champ Hood (with Walter Hyatt)~ 1993
Michael Johnson of the Killer Bees (Raggae) ~ 1993
Sam Myers of Anson and the Rockets (blues) ~ 1994
Doyle Bramhall (Texas blues)~ 1995
Big Daddy Kinsey (blues) ~ 1995
Ronnie Dawson (rock-a-billy) ~ 1996
Freddy Pharoh(drums Sue Foley Band) ~ 1996
Katie Webster (blues) ~ 1997
Sam "Bluzman" Taylor (blues) ~ 1997
Sean Costello (blues) ~ 1997
Micheal Burks (blues) ~ 1998
Rockin' Tabby Thomas (blues) ~ 1999
Randy Garibay (blues) ~ 1999
Earl Gaines of the Excello Allstars (soul/blues) ~ 1999
Roscoe Shelton of the Excello Allstars (soul/blues) ~ 1999
Robert Lucas of Canned Heat (60's boogie music) ~ 1999
Koko Taylor ( Queen of the Blues )~ 2002

Dolyle Bramhall
Bramhall was born on Feb. 17, 1949, in west Dallas. He said his older brother was an early influence on his musical tastes. “In the early ‘60s he had four or five friends who’d come over and listen to these great old blues albums,” Bramhall told me in 2007. “I’d sit outside his bedroom door and listen to Muddy (Waters) and B.B. (King) and Lightnin’ Slim and Lightnin’ Hopkins.”

In high school Bramhall started a band, the Chessmen, with Jimmie Vaughan on guitar; they once opened for Jimi Hendrix when he played Dallas. “I looked over and the three of them were were moving their feet and snapping their fingers,” he said.

By the ‘70s Bramhall was keeping the beat in Texas Storm, which featured both Vaughan brothers. The period was one of great creative growth for all three players, as they found eager audiences in Austin for their fiery update of the blues. The sound they created would end up making Stevie Ray an international star in the ‘80s. “We were both aware of wanting to show our influences, but stretching it out a bit,” Bramhall said.

An early song they collaborated on, Dirty Pool, ended up on Stevie Ray’s 1983 debut album Texas Flood. Stevie Ray would record numerous other songs that Bramhall wrote or co-wrote with him, including Wall of Denial, Scratch-N-Sniff, Tightrope and The House Is Rockin’. One of Bramhall’s finest compositions, Life by the Drop, documented the different directions their careers took.

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