In recent years the blues community has lost some great artists. Those lost include Pinetop Perkins, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Honey Boy Edwards, Koko Taylor and Louisiana Red. The year 2013 was no different. Magic Slim, Jimmy Dawkins, Aaron Moore and Eric “Guitar” Davis were some of Chicago’s biggest loses. On a global level there was Bobby “Blue” Bland, Alvin Lee, T-Model Ford and Ann Rabson.
Probably the most tragic is the murder of 41 year old Eric “Guitar” Davis. He was found shot behind the wheel of a car in the early morning hours of December 19th. He was an up and coming blues guitarist who had just signed a recording contract with Chicago’s Delmark Records.
Aaron Moore (2-11-18 to 11-27-13) was a local Chicago treasure who worked for the city of Chicago driving a garbage truck for 36 years and playing blues piano only on the weekends. Some of the greats he played with/for included B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Lonnie Brooks, Hound Dog Taylor and Little Walter.
Jimmy Dawkins (10-24-36 to 4-12-13) was known as Fast Fingers, but never really cared for that name. He was part of the west side sound, which also included Otis Rush, Luther Allison and Magic Sam.
Magic Slim (8-7-37 to 2-21-13) born Morris Holt passed away at a hospital in Philadelphia. He had health problems and they worsened while on tour. His manager said he had bleeding ulcers that sent him to the hospital, but he also suffered from heart, lung and kidney problems.
Bobby “Blue” Bland (1-27-30 to 6-23-13) was born Robert Calvin Brooks in Rosemark, Tennessee. Strictly a singer, Bobby started on Beale Street in Memphis with B.B. King, Roscoe Gordon, Junior Parker and Johnny Ace. They took the name the Beale Streeters. A 1992 member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, his first chart success was in 1957 with the R&B chart No. 1 hit “Farther Up the Road”.
T-Model Ford (? to 7-16-13) was born James Lewis Carter Ford in Forest, Mississippi. His exact age is not known. His record company Fat Possum Records stated he was 94 at the time of his death, but others say he was born between 1921 and 1925. He couldn’t remember when he was born. Fat Possum reported he died at home in Greenville, Mississippi of respiratory failure after a prolonged illness.
Alvin Lee (3-19-44 to 3-6-13) was born Graham Anthony Barnes in Nottingham, England. He was best known as the lead guitarist and singer for the blues-rock band Ten Years After. Ten Years After gained fame for Alvin’s performance at Woodstock. It was captured on film in the documentary. The band had one early hit called “I’d Love to Change the World”. Lee didn’t care for that tune and he never played it.
Ann Rabson (4-12-45 to 1-30-13) was a blues singer, piano and guitar player. She started playing professionally in 1962. She was part of Saffire – The Uppity Blues Women who recorded for Chicago’s Alligator Records. Ann died in Fredericksburg, Virginia, after a long battle with cancer.
Don't forget to click the slide show for more on each artist.