January 19, 2017 would have been Willie’s 81st birthday. I’m so glad I had the privilege of knowing and touring with him. Here is part of the story from Chapter 32 in my book, HURRICANE, released in early 2016.
I first met Willie “Big Eyes” Smith at the Hot Licks Blues Festival in Granville, OH in 2007. He was performing the duty of bandleader for longtime Howlin’ Wolf band member and legendary Blues guitarist, Hubert Sumlin. Hubert and I had known each other through mutual friends, so he invited me onstage to sit in with him during his set. It was a real treat to be onstage with both Hubert and Willie. Later that night, my band and I were playing for the after-festival party, and Willie was hanging out listening. During my usual wireless walk into the crowd, I told Willie he was welcome to jam with us if he felt so inclined. Since he had been working hard earlier in the day, I thought he may just want to sit back with a drink and relax. He did that for a little while, but that relaxation period was short-lived. Not too much later, Willie approached the side of the stage with that “I want to play now,” look in his eye. Clutching his harmonica, he jumped right in like we had known each other for years and started playing the Blues. Then he would get back on the drums for a while, and we would experience that wonderful “Willie Shuffle” he had pioneered for many years with Muddy. We jammed together for about 2 hours. Willie and I exchanged cards, and I told him I’d love to jam with him again sometime. He said, “We’ll talk again, I got you in my back pocket”.
Willie and I would see each other on subsequent visits to Memphis for the Blues Awards, and the International Blues Competition. While having breakfast with the late Pinetop Perkins in Clarksdale, MS. during the 2008 Blues Awards, I met his manager, Patricia Morgan, who was also Willie’s manager. We talked briefly, but it wasn’t until I was on a tour in New York that she invited me to participate in the annual Pinetop Perkins Homecoming at Hopson Plantation in Clarksdale. That would work since I would also be performing nearby at the Handy Festival in Helena, AR. While we were talking, I mentioned to her that Willie and I had played together, and that I was interested in jamming with Willie again…. (cont’d in the book HURRICANE)
Thinking about my dad, Brooks Wilson, who would have turned 88 today, January 9. I lost him way too early back in October of 1995. This is the song I wrote and recorded about him entitled I DON’T WANNA COME BACK. https://youtu.be/Xq5CUc3FH1I
I’m still going through his many writings, some philosophical many technical, since he was a mechanical designer and draftsman since age 15 as an apprentice, but embracing the future and technology with open arms. To me, his intelligence was unsurpassed by none. I will eventually publish some of what he wrote, and will probably use some of it in future songs. As it is, I just thought I would share this little excerpt he had written back in late 93 to early 94.
He titled it:
STRANGE NEW PARADIGM, or THE NEW WORK ETHIC.
Instead of striking out on your own and working to make yourself rich, as an individual- destroying the country in the process by selling it out from under your neighbors’ feet- it would seem to be more sensible to work together with your neighbors to make your country rich, as a whole, and all share in the benefits of your combined labors. It seems possible that everyone could have, almost literally, everything he could ever want, to live a decent, comfortable, enjoyable life on a happy blue planet he had helped to carve out of what, not long before, had been a world of misery and anger. On the day mankind disappeared, the earth never missed a beat. By the end of the next fleeting century, every trace of modern civilization had crumbled to dust, and the great pyramid yawned and went back to sleep.
Happy Birthday Dad!
Merry Christmas From Roger “Hurricane” Wilson & Bluestorm Records
Still Need Last Minute Gifts On Christmas Eve? You Can Still The Gift Of Music.
Although The Physical Items Won’t Ship Until After Christmas, You Will Receive An Email Gift Certificate For Those & All Online & In Person Music Instruction Purchases.
Here Are Your Last Minute Options:
1) The Roger “Hurricane” Wilson & Bluestorm Records Christmas Packet is still available on Ebay and www.BluestormRecords.com
NOTE THAT THE NEW CD, LIVE AT THE BLUE NOTE GRILL NOW INCLUDED FOR THE SAME PRICE.
No better music deal anywhere. 18 CD’s (17 CD’s & 1 CD download card, plus the book, HURRICANE.) A $300.00 Value for $125.00.
PLUS FREE SHIPPING IN U.S.
Direct Link: http://fburls.com/75-mSxjHMiN/t/s/txt/cid/1393861/sid/66737039
2) The Book, HURRICANE, The Story Of A Nine Year Old Kid Taking Guitar Lessons & The Musical Journey That Followed.
Direct Link: http://fburls.com/81-0htS2Ewo/t/s/txt/cid/1393861/sid/66737039
3) Purchase Physical CD’s at http://fburls.com/81-0htS2Ewo/t/s/txt/cid/1393861/sid/66737039 Check Drop Down Menu at HURRICANE WILSON CD’s Tab.
4) Enroll Someone For Online & In Person Guitar Instruction at http://fburls.com/19-gcdwjgRU/t/s/txt/cid/1393861/sid/66737039 Check Drop Down Menu at GUITAR INSTRUCTION Tab.
We Wish You The Best For You & Yours This Holiday Season & For The Coming Year.
Go to http://www.HurricaneWilson.com and click on the Roger’s Blog tab.
Podcast #14 is Show #72 of Roger “Hurricane” Wilson’s American Music Show on KALA-FM in Davenport, IA. It features the solo set recorded live by Roger “Hurricane” Wilson as well as some tunes by the Rusty Paul Band at the Rusty’s Rhythms Concert in Mahwah, NJ on Saturday, September 10, 2016. Rusty was the son of Les Paul, who passed away on December 31, 2015. The show was put on by his grandchildren, Stephen, Beth, and Gary Paul, to benefit the American Diabetes Association. Be sure to tune in each Monday night at 10PM ET/ 9PM CT on KALA-FM- 88.5, serving The Quad Cities for Roger “Hurricane” Wilson’s American Music Show. The show is also streaming at http://www.sau.edu/KALA.html. Click on How To Listen.
Roger “Hurricane” Wilson’s American Music Show #55 – KALA -FM 88.5 – Davenport, IA. Featuring The Eric Quincy Tate Group.
Listen To Roger “Hurricane” Wilson’s Podcast Of The After Show Jam Session At Frog’s Blues On The Lake 2016 In Hawthorne, FLne
Click Below To Listen To Frog Jam 2016 Originally Recorded on March 12, 2016. The Podcast is From Roger “Hurricane” Wilson’s American Music Show From march 14, 2016 On KALA – FM – 88.5 in Davenport, IA.
The American Music Show Airs and Streams each Monday Evening at 9PM CT and 10 PM ET.