Remembering Stevie Ray

Remembering Stevie Ray

How incredible was Stevie Ray anyway?

It does get me to thinking each year when the anniversary date
of Stevie’s passing rolls around again…

He was such a Monster of a player, and such a wonderful human
being as well. I suppose that’s why his fans thought so highly of him,
both before and after his tragic passing.

There will never be another like SRV. Many have copped his style
and that’s cool. But he was somebody very, very special and so many
still feel that way about him even though it’s been 14 years since
Alpine Valley.

Jimmie and the family and others have asked his legion of fans to
remember him on his birthday — it falls in early October — rather
than today. Stevie would be turning 50 on the third of October if
things had gone differently. But his fans — and you can certainly put
this puppy in that category — just can’t help but think of him each
year when this sad date rolls around again.

God bless Stevie Ray. And each of us who remember him each year.
And all of those who love good music and try to love one another.
And who are trying to keep the music alive.

Now if you were to compare this dog to Stevie, I’m not much of a musician, nor, perhaps, all that much of a man. But as with many other “saints”
and just good folk, we do try to emulate the really good ones! And Mister
Vaughan was as good as a man or a musician as one could possibly be.

We love you Stevie. And forgive us if we remember you each year
at this time. We just have some sense of what we all lost on one
dark and desolate morning those 14 years ago…

Bulldog Ben, remembering

Stevie from here in Orlando…

A note from Bulldog: this was first published in August of 2004 in one of my yahoo groups and that’s why the dates are off. It was exactly 30 years ago today that we lost one of the greatest musicians of our time.

© 2004 Ben Lawrence Basile

Harp god James Cotton turns 81 today!

Harp god James Cotton turns 81 today!

July 1, 2016

Blues harmonica legend James Cotton turns 81 today. James is the real deal, having grown up in Mississippi under the tutelage of Sonny Boy Williamson. James ran away from home at the age of seven and was deeply immersed in the blues from that time on. No one else has that kind of amazing blues pedigree; it’s a seriously over-worked phrase, but Mr. Cotton truly is one-of-a-kind.

I had the privilege to meet James after a show at the now-defunct Disney Institute back in 1996. (The D.I. has since been transformed into a massive Time Share Resort.) The back stage meet and greet had been arranged for me by my friend David McElroy who was the Director of the Theater project there. I’ll always be grateful for David’s consideration; the conversation I had with this living legend of the blues is one of the best moments of my musical career. A wonderful time in many ways.

James had been an able vocalist for his whole career and so we were taken aback when he struggled mightily to sing; it was shortly after that performance that he had to permanently stop singing because of serious problems with his vocal cords.

I just had to post tonight and wish Mr. Superharp a very happy 81st birthday. James was known for playing, recording and touring like a madman since 1953 but has now downshifted just a bit. I wish him good health and continued success on his day today.