On this day in 1918 one of the most influential blues musicians was born Elmore James. While James passed before I started listening to music big-time, He certainly influenced many of the artist that I’ve listened to through the years and his legacy lives on there are several covers of his classic “Dust My Broom” in my music library. Here’s some background from Wikipedia:
Elmore James (January 27, 1918 – May 24, 1963) was an American blues guitarist, singer, songwriter, band leader. He was known as “the King of the Slide Guitar” and had a unique guitar style, noted for his use of loud amplification and his stirring voice.
Many electric slide guitar players will admit to the influence of James’ style. He was also a major influence on such successful ‘Blues’ guitarists as ‘Homesick James’ (who was a member of Elmore’s band ‘The Broomdusters’ and featured on many of his recordings) John Littlejohn, Hound Dog Taylor, J. B. Hutto and many others. He also influenced many rock guitarists such as The Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones (Keith Richards writes in his book that at the time he met Brian Jones, Brian called himself Elmo Lewis, and that he wanted to be Elmore James. Fleetwood Mac’s Jeremy Spencer. John Mayall included the song, “Mr. James,” on his 1969 “Looking Back” album as a dedication to James. His songs “Done Somebody Wrong” and “One Way Out” were often covered by The Allman Brothers Band, who cited him as a major influence. James was also covered by blues-rock band Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble many times in concert. The most famous of these covers is one that came by an indirect route – James’ fellow bluesman Albert King recorded a cover of “The Sky Is Crying”, and Stevie Ray Vaughan copied King’s version of the song. That song was also covered by George Thorogood on his second album, Move It On Over and by Eric Clapton on his album There’s One in Every Crowd.
The most famous guitarist who admired Elmore James was Jimi Hendrix. Early in his career Jimi styled himself variously as ‘Maurice James’ and subsequently as ‘Jimmy James.’ This, according to former bandmate and recording partner Lonnie Youngblood, was a tribute to Elmore James. There is a photo of Hendrix (that can be seen in the sleeve of his :blues album) in London wearing his iconic military jacket and holding Elmore James’s UK LP The Best Of Elmore James. (Hendrix was frequently photographed throughout his performing career holding LP covers of musicians that influenced him.) He performed James’ “Bleeding Heart” during the Experience’s Royal Albert Hall concert in 1969, and also with the Band of Gypsys at their New Year’s concerts at the Fillmore East in 1969/70 as well as recording two different versions of it in the studio. Buddy Miles also sang lyrics along with Jimi playing some motifs from James’ “The Sky Is Crying” during his famous jam session the Newport Pop Festival on June 22, 1969 (the video is now available in collector’s circles) as well as quoting several lyrics and motifs from Elmore’s catalogue throughout his career Full Biography
Our morning music is a cover of another Elmore James song “The Sky is Crying” that is included in my library from the late great Gary Moore.