A review of the Roots Music Blues Chart this morning led me to the blues of , Eugene “Birdlegg” Pittman and his 2013 Dialtone release Birdlegg.(#38) Since 1980 Birdlegg has been playing the blues in and around Oakland, California with his band the Tight Fit Blues Band. The band’s lineup would change from time to time but regularly included Texas-born bass player and singer Country Pete McGill and even once featured legendary Chess session guitarist Luther Tucker. Through the years he often told folks:, “I don’t do floors, windows or shoes—I play the Oakland blues!”Birdlegg was named Blues Harmonica Player of the Year by the Bay Blues Society in 2004 While a many blues harpist try to mold their playing around the sound of Little Walter. Birdlegg goes back a little further in time and his muses are Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) and Sonny Terry – two of mu favorites!! I knew I liked his playing!! A few years ago after 35 years in the Bay Area Birdlegg packed his bags and moved to Texas. He reunited with his ex-wife, who he hadn’t seen in years and started playing around town. It didn’t take long for him to establish himself as a favorite on the Austin blues scene! From KXAN – Blues make a comeback on 6th St.
Birdlegg said he came to Austin six months ago due to an unusual set of circumstances. He recently found out his wife who had been missing for over 30 years had moved to Austin. Due to a loss of memory his wife never told him where she was. To make matters worse she met another man, unknowingly leaving him behind with unanswered questions. Birdlegg says he is reacquainting himself with his wife, whom he says he is still legally married to. He also says his move to Texas from Oakland California has helped him to kick a drug habit; he’s been clean for several months now. In many of the songs he performed Birdlegg describes broken relationships, bouts with his former girlfriends and some time in jail and being broke. Melded together with a classic blues sound and very talented harmonist, listeners can enjoy his show for free and if you feel the need, donations are welcomed to help Birdlegg pay the rest of the band. Read More
While researching this album I discovered that Dialtone Records produced the album and final funding was raised through Kickstarter! Dialtone surrounded Birdlegg with a new Texas Tight-Fit Blues Band that included the likes of Omar Dykes, Johnny Bradley, Jason Moeller, Nick Connolly, Kaz Kazanoff, and Mike Keller After I listened to the album this morning I thought you know that’s one of my favorite blues albums of the year – it has just about everything I want to see in a blues album – some great guitar throughout the album,some horns and keyboards and of course of exceptional harp playing from Birdlegg!! Here are a few of the places where you can check out the album and Birdlegg
Sources and Links
Here’s Birdlegg working hard at Antone’s Blues Jam sponsored by the Austin Blues Society