Little Joe Blue

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Little Joe Blue | Eil.com | tc108

Joseph Valery, Jr, known as Little Joe Blue, was born on September 23, 1934 and died on April 22, 1990, age 55, of cancer. He started performing in the 1950s and recorded his biggest success, Dirty Work goin’ on, for Chess in 1966, having previously recorded it unsuccessfully for another label in 1964. His style is frequently compared to B B King’s.

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The Big Three Trio

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Amazon | tc109

Willie Dixon formed the Big Three Trio in 1946 with pianist/singer Leonard Caston and guitarist Bernardo Dennis, who was replaced a year later by Ollie Crawford. The name was inspired by the “Big Three” leaders of the Second world war. The majority of the groups’ recordings were made for the Bullet, Okeh and (US) Columbia labels. (The CD Cover shown is a collection of their material for Columbia, which is why I have not listed the tracks here.)

Emery “Detroit Junior” Williams

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Emery Williams | Alchetron | tc110

Emery Williams Jr. was born on October 26, 1931 and was given the name Detroit Junior when he began his solo career in the 1960s. He moved to Chicago in the early ’50s, and became involved with Eddie Boyd, Jimmy Reed, and Eddie Taylor. He recorded Too Poor for Chess Records in 1960. In 1969 Williams began a long stint as Howlin’ Wolf’s piano player, a spot he held until Wolf’s death in 1976. Williams himself died on August 9, 2005.

Lloyd Glenn

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Lloyd Glenn | SB Blues | tc111

Lloyd Glenn was born on November 21, 1909 and died on May 23, 1985 of a heart attack. He was a pianist, bandleader and arranger. He was born in Texas but moved to California and became a pioneer of the West Coast blues scene. He is associated with Lowell Fulson, T Bone Walker and B B King. He plays piano on T Bone Walker’s 1947 recording “Call it stormy Monday” and produced Fulson’s “Every Day I have the blues”. He released a number of recordings of his own in the 1940s to 1960s.

Lafayette Leake

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Lafayette Leake LP Cover | tc112

Lafayette Leake was born on June 1, 1919 and died on August 14, 1990. He was a blues and jazz pianist, organist, vocalist and composer who played for Chess Records as a session musician, and as a member of the Big Three Trio (replacing Leonard Caston), during the formative years of Chicago blues, playing piano on many of Chuck Berry’s Chess recordings. He worked closely with bassist, producer, and songwriter Willie Dixon.

Leake fell into a diabetic coma in his home in Chicago, where he remained undiscovered for several days, dying in hospital on August 14, 1990.