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Today in Music – 1937 – Bluesman – Joe “Guitar” Hughes was born!

Joe HughesWhen I saw that, Joe “Guitar” Hughes was born on this day in 1937 in Houston, Texas. I thought ok any artist that puts “Guitar” in their name is usually pretty damn good and since I had never heard of Mr. Hughes I thought I’d see what I could find out… at Wikipedia I read:

Joe “Guitar” Hughes (September 29, 1937 – May 20, 2003[1]) was an American blues musician, from Houston, Texas, United States. Hughes was an inventive and versatile performer who was equally adept at playing a slow blues or Texas shuffle as well as R&B hits. Hughes was inspired by local musicians such as Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown and Johnny “Guitar” Watson – “anyone who had fire in their playing and a good shuffle”.[2] His first band was the Dukes Of Rhythm in the 1950s, which also included his friend, Johnny Copeland. Continue Reading

and then on to AllMusic where I found out that:

Houston was homebase to a remarkable cadre of red-hot blues guitarists during the 1950s. Joe Hughes was not as well known as his peers Albert Collins and Johnny Copeland, but he was a solid electric bluesman with a formidable discography. Another of his Houston neighbors, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, lit a performing fire in Hughes when he was 14. Lone Star stalwarts T-Bone Walker and Gatemouth Brown also exerted their influence on Hughes’ playing. His path crossed Copeland’s circa 1953 when the two shared vocal and guitar duties in a combo called the Dukes of Rhythm. Hughes served as bandleader at a local blues joint known as Shady’s Playhouse from 1958 through 1963, cutting a few scattered singles of his own in his spare time (“I Can’t Go on This Way,” “Ants in My Pants,” “Shoe Shy”). In 1963, Hughes hit the road with the Upsetters, switching to the employ of Bobby “Blue” Bland in 1965 (he also recorded behind the singer for Duke) and Al “TNT” Braggs from 1967 to 1969.Read More

Now one of the reasons that I have never heard of Joe “Guitar” Hughes is that he stayed in Texas throughout much of his career. Here’s the other reason….

From the early 1980s he toured Europe and recorded for Double Trouble Records of Holland. They issued Texas Guitar Master in 1986, which included a live “Battle of the Guitars” with fellow Texan bluesman Pete Mayes, that testified to the abiding influence on both men by T-Bone Walker

DownDepressedRight now I’m listening to his 1995 release on Munich Records Down & Depressed: Dangerous and it’s damn good!! Joe “Guitar” Hughes’ music definitely deserves further checking out!!!

So let’s get our Sunday morning started with “Gone Fishing” from a performance in Amsterdam in 1988. with Michael Johnson (guitar), George Brown (bass), Teddy Reynolds (piano), Warren Grant (drums). Sadly, Joe suffered a heart attack and passed on in 2003  So Happy Birthday, Joe! Wherever you are!!