Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Sonny Rodgers - Last Jam
Born December 4, 1939 near Hughes, Arkansas, Sonny was 'discovered' by Alan Lomax in the early 1960's during Lomax's Library of Congress recording project. Rodgers was playing with Forrest City Joe and Willie Cobbs at the time.
He also performed with Joe Hill Louis, Joe Willie Wilkins, Eddie Boyd, and countless other Delta area bluesmen. Railroad jobs took Sonny up to Illinois, and later to Minneapolis, where he teamed up with Sammy Lawhorn & Mojo Buford, serving as a sideman on Muddy Waters' tours.
In 1976, Sonny went into the studio with Buford, contributing to the anthology LP 'Mojo Buford's Chicago Blues Summit' (Rooster Records #R-7603).
He formed his own band, the Cat Scratchers, in 1984. They recorded several cassette-only albums before releasing their first single, 'Cadillac Baby' / 'Big Leg Woman' (Blue Moon #BMR-001). The single was a hit with the critics, winning the single-of-the-year award at the 1990 W.C. Handy Awards in Memphis.
These songs were packaged together with others recorded at the now world famous New Moon Studio in Minneapolis, and were released on CD later that year on a British label ('They Call Me The Cat Daddy' - Fattening Frogs #J-2).
Sadly, Sonny had passed away at age 50, a time which should have been the prime of his career as a bluesman. 'He was one singing dude', wrote harmonica ace William Clarke in his note of condolence to Sonny's widow, Clara.
He touched a number of lives in his short time on this planet, including that of Blue Moon Records founder Pat Dawson, who recently declared in an interview with a magazine writer, 'the label owes it's existence to Sonny Rodgers. He got a lot of us started on the paths that our lives have taken.'
His W.C. Handy trophy was on public display for a number of years at St Paul's Blues Saloon. It now graces the wall of the control room at New Moon, where they continue to pump out great blues recordings.
I'm sorry to say that I have no more info on these last recordings of Sonny Rodgers and couldn't find anything om the internet about them. Any info would be welcome.
Thank you to HM for ripping his cassette for us.
Please read the comments for a track listing from Gerard and Bob Mac.