Friday, March 20, 2009

Eddie Bo RIP

This grim year for great New Orleans music just got a whole lot worse with the news that Eddie Bo has died aged 78. Eddie was such a seminal N'Awlins R and B figure that it's hard to take it in. Eddie was everywhere whenever I went to New Orleans - at Jazzfest, the Ponderosa Stomp, at the Rock 'N' Bowl and in little bars in the French Quarter playing to a handful of people. He represented all that was best about the place: great 'junker' style New Orleans piano, strong voice and fantastic personality. He even got a following in the UK and I remember his last gig at the Jazz Cafe a few years ago was a sell out.

Eddie Bocage, as he was originally known, first signed for Johnny Vincent's Ace label in 1955 and shortly afterwards had a hit with I'm Wise for Apollo, better known as Little Richard's Slippin' and Slidin'. In 1959 he signed with the Ric label where his local hits included Check Mr Popeye, Dinky Doo and Tell it like it is (not the Aaron Neville song). He was a good songwriter (eg My Dearest Darling, for Etta James) and also worked on songs and arrangements for other Ric artists such as Irma Thomas, Johnny Adams and Tommy Ridgeley. Later hits included Hook and Sling and something of a soul/funk crossover hit Check Your Bucket in the early 70s. And although he gave up performing for a while to work as a carpenter in the 70s he came back strongly as an excellent live act.

I've seen Eddie many many times but I never tired of him. He was one of the true New Orleans greats and will be sorely missed. Coming so soon after the deaths of Snooks Eaglin and Antoinette K-Doe it's a terrible blow to New Orleans music. RIP Eddie. Here's a report on the WWOZ website and here's the story in the Times-Picayune


At 9:54 pm , Blogger Nick said...

Bunter wrote:Sad news indeed, things like this only serve to underline your point, with which I totally agree, that whenever a chance arises for UK audiences to see figures from the "golden era" of roots music, regardless of genre, these must not be passed by. Sometime this week I'll choose a Bo Top Ten for my blog, you've done a nice piece for the Vinyl Word.

At 8:11 pm , Anonymous NOLA tunes said...

As one New Orleans legend passes another is born. RIP eddie, you'll be missed!


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