Friday, September 16, 2011

Happy 80th Birthday Little Willie Littlefield

Little Willie Littlefield at the House of Blues, New Orleans
2009 Ponderosa Stomp. Photo © Ron Weinstock
The recent passing of songwriter Jerry Lieber brought Little Willie Littlefield to mind. Willie is still with us. He is seen here from the 2009 Ponderosa Stomp. The Texas-born West Coast jump blues pianist was influenced by the likes of Ivory Joe Hunter and Amos Milburn. His recording career started in 1949 and continued through the 50s, although he recorded for the Blues Connisseur label in the early 70s before he moved to Europe where he still lives.

Little Willie Littlefield recorded "K.C. Lovin'" for Federal in 1952 that was the original of "Kansas City." I remember a Blues Unlimited interview which he claimed to have written the song and sold it to Lieber and Stoller. He also claimed the same with "Ruby, Ruby," which he recorded for Rhythm in 1957. He had some other fine recordings that varied from moody to ebullient “Happy Payday”).

Anyway his Stomp performance pictured was first rate. He turns 80 today and we celebrate this legend of rhythm and blues.

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