Tuesday, March 12, 2013

George Smith - Blowin' The Blues

 Biography by Michael Erlewine
George Smith was born on April 22, 1924 in Helena, AR, but was raised in Cairo, IL. At age four, Smith was already taking harp lessons from his mother, a guitar player and a somewhat stern taskmaster -- it was a case of get-it-right-or-else.
His influences include Larry Adler Little Walter. Smith would sometimes bill himself as Little Walter Jr. or Big Walter. He played in a number of bands including one with a young guitarist named Otis Rush and later went on the road with the Muddy Waters Band, after replacing Henry Strong.
In 1954, he was offered a permanent job at the Orchid Room in Kansas City where, early in 1955, Joe Bihari of Modern Records (on a scouting trip), heard Smith, and signed him to Modern. These recording sessions were released under the name Little George Smith, and included "Telephone Blues" and "Blues in the Dark." The records were a success.
In 1960, Smith met producer Nat McCoy who owned the Sotoplay and Carolyn labels, with whom he recorded ten singles under the name of George Allen. In 1966, while Muddy Waters was on West Coast, he asked Smith to join him and they worked together for a while, recording for Spivey Records.
Smith's first album on World Pacific A Tribute to Little WalterBob Thiele produced an excellent solo album of Smith on Bluesway, and later made use of Smith as a sideman for his Blues Times label, including sets with T-Bone Walker, and Harmonica Slim. Smith met Rod Piazza, a young White harp player and they formed the Southside Blues Band, later known as Bacon Fat.
In 1969, Smith signed with U.K. producer Mike Vernon and did the No Time for Jive album. Smith was less active in the 1970s appearing with Eddie Taylor and Big Mama Thornton. Around 1977, Smith became friends with William Clarke and they began working together. Their working relationship and friendship continued until Smith died on October 2, 1983.



Anonymous said...

Do you have anything else by George Smith?
Many thanks and kind regards

Xyros said...

I think I have a couple more, I'll have a look and put what I find on the blog soon.

ramson said...

I already knew this one, but thanks anyway!

Shakey Frank said...

Outstanding...thank you!