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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Blues Highlights: James Booker

This guy is a new find for me, thanks to Pandora Radio. James Booker was born in 1939 in New Orleans and was part of the long and ongoing tradition of kick ass music in that town. He died in 1983. He died waiting in an emergency room from renal failure, something that could probably have been headed off if we had us some decent healthcare in America. Booker's most famous student is Harry Connick Jr. I only learned about him today, proving there is always more great music to find. His piano work is excellent. His singing is okay but it is his piano work that stands out. James Booker doing St. James Infirmary, a song that goes WAY back, and which I mostly associate with Cab Caolloway, though Louis Armstrong made it popular:

 

 James Booker in action, singing "True":
 


 And playing "Sunny Side of the Street": (shows off his piano skills particularly well on this one)

 








 And finally "Good Night Irene," another OLD song (though nowhere near as old as the roots of St. James Infirmary) originally made popular by Leadbelly. This version is different from the standard
Leadbelly/Pete Seeger etc. version:

 

  Return to I Had a Thought.

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