Saturday, October 08, 2011

Blind musicians

I was listening to a radio programme for the blind the other day and it struck me that there have been some wonderful blind musicians - especially in the blues field - over the years. Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder spring to mind of course, along with the great Clarence Carter (pictured at Jazzfest 2010), but many of the influential early blues singers were blind. They include Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie McTell, Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Boy Fuller, Blind Mississippi Morris and Blind Blake (not exactly hiding their disabilities of course). And then there was Sonny Terry, Little Buster and the partially sighted Sam Myers and, more recently, the late Jeff Healey.
In the jazz field there were Art Tatum, George Shearing, Diane Schuur and Roland Kirk, and in pop Al Hibbler (who had the original hit with Unchained Melody), Jose Feliciano and Ronnie Milsap. In the gospel field the Blind Boys of Alabama and their Mississippi counterparts stood out, as did the Rev Gary Davis. From reggae there's Frankie Paul and from New Orleans there's pianist and singer Henry Butler (pictured at Porretta in 2008).
No doubt there are others and I would be interested in any suggestions.


At 7:53 pm , Anonymous said...

Very good.

At 12:25 am , Blogger Dave C said...

What may have at first seemed a dubious genre appeared to have been validated, when, whilst browsing in Fopp, I came across a double CD entitled ‘Blind Man Blues’. Fifty tracks costing £3 was impressive enough, but over a dozen different bluesmen were included (including five already mentioned), far more than I could ever have come up with. The question occurs, however, ‘Apart from Diane Schuur, are there any other female singers or musicians who have overcome the same disadvantage?’

At 9:08 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Snooks Eaglin

At 9:27 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just thought I would mention one that you could add to your collection. Blind Blake (Alphonso Higgs).

At 6:46 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Add Lynn August

At 11:13 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about cripples. ie Left Hand Frank.


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