BLUES TOUR UK APRIL/MAY
Louisiana Red & Michael Messer -
A collaboration of two
great musicians from totally different backgrounds, brought together
through a passion for playing blues slide guitar and many years of
mutual admiration for each others’ work.
Louisiana Red was born
in 1932, and is one of the last bluesmen still performing who learned
his craft from the fathers and grandfathers of the blues; Son House,
Elmore James, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Arthur Crudup, Robert Nighthawk, Muddy
Waters & John Lee Hooker, to name just a few!
When Louisiana Red performs,
the songs are often only a launching pad for expressing his immediate
feelings, in the almost lost tradition of spontaneous composition that
goes back to the original Delta Blues artists and even further to the
West-African griots. From the old acoustic Delta sounds of Robert
Johnson, all the way to the urban electric Chicago style of his mentor
Muddy Waters, Louisiana Red’s great versatility shines.
Louisiana Red’s albums have been called masterpieces by critics, and in
1983 he won a W.C. Handy Award as ’Best Traditional Blues Artist’.
Visit Louisiana Red's website:
was born in 1956, and is known
as one of the leading slide guitarists and blues innovators in the
world. His playing encompasses the
entire history of the blues, but is totally individual and contemporary.
Being English with an international reputation for blues slide guitar is
a rarity in itself, but Messer’s obsessive appetite for knowledge of the
art is virtually unequalled.
The American magazine, ‘Spirit’
listed Michael as one of the greatest slide guitarists ever alongside
Duane Allman and Ry Cooder".
Michael Messer’s accolades include a US number one blues album in 2001
and the award for ‘Best International Blues Guitar Album’ in 2003.
One prominent US journalist described him as “an unavoidable
force in modern blues”. In addition, Johnny Cash was a fan of Messer’s
and wrote sleeve notes for his album, Rhythm Oil.
LOUISIANA RED BIOGRAPHY
Louisiana Red was born
Iverson Minter on March 23rd 1932 in Warren County, Vicksburg,
Mississippi. His mother died when he was a week old and his father was
killed by the Klu Klux Klan when he was five. After this trauma he was
raised briefly by his grandmother who like his grandfather was a
musician in New Orleans. Shortly thereafter he was taken into an
orphanage by the local authorities, presumably because his grandmother
had passed away, and it was here in the orphanage that he learnt to play
By 1945 he had arrived in Pittsburgh, via a stay in Waco, Texas, and
taught himself to play guitar. Two years later he could be found busking
on the streets and by the age of 13 was regularly featured on local
radio stations. In 1949 the Muddy Waters Band was playing in town at the
Skyline Club and Red was asked to sit in with the band. At the end of
the set Muddy urged him to move to Chicago where unfortunately, due to
some minor misdemeanour, he served a year in a reformatory. In 1951 he
was inducted into the air force and served in England and Korea.
One year later he was back in Chicago and as Rocky Fuller recorded eight
tracks for Chess Records, two being issued on the very fine Checker 753
single called 'Soon One Morning/Rock Me Baby'. The remaining tracks
appeared on a lovely Japanese P-Vine LP 6032 thirty-three years later.
In 1953 he again visited the Chess Studios and recorded two tracks with
Little Walter on harmonica and Jimmy Rogers on guitar. Only one of these
tracks ‘Funeral Hearse at My Door’ being eventually issued on CD. Later
that year Red moved to Detroit and with a change of name to Playboy
Fuller he began performing with John Lee Hooker on a regular basis at
The Harlem Inn. He then recorded a excellent single on Fuller Records
backed by Jesse Lee Williams on harmonica and Johnny Walters on piano.
Shortly after that, as Rockin’ Red, he recorded ‘Boogie Woogie All Night
Long’ with John Lee backing him. This track was erroneously attributed
to John Lee Hooker and issued on Hooker’s Crown LP 5232. Times were hard
for working musicians and during this period he was often found working
outside the music business to make ends meet. However, in 1958 he
started a series of club dates through the south and the following year
he was found frequently working with James Wayne’s Night Hawks of ‘Junco
Partner’ fame in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
In 1960 he moved to New York City and recorded a very fine single for
Atlas Records ‘I Done Woke Up/I Had A Feeling’ and two years later was
back in the recording studio laying down the wonderful ‘Red’s Dream’ LP
25200 for Roulette. This album was Red’s breakthrough and has been
issued and re-issued all over the world time and time again. This was
followed in 1964 by a series of recordings for Atco Records, which
culminated in the magnificent Atco LP 389 ‘Sings The Blues’. Following
this he worked with Jimmy Reed and for a while became involved with the
Black Muslim Movement. He married Ealase in 1963 and she bore him three
children before her death ten years later.
In 1975 he embarked on a gruelling series of concert and recording dates
in France, Germany, Switzerland and Japan and in 1977 he married the
famous folk blues singer Odetta and eventually re-located to Germany.
Since then he has recorded at least a further twenty-three albums and
has travelled throughout the world headlining concerts both in Europe
and the States.
Michael Messer was born in Middlesex in 1956.
Throughout his childhood and teenshe played rock music with his two
brothers and in various local bands. In his early twenties, Messer spent
time in Nashville where he had the chance to meet and hear some of the
‘greats’ of country music performing in their home environment. These
included Roy Acuff, Hank Snow and Johnny Cash. Back home in England in
the late seventies, Messer was mastering the art of Mississippi delta
blues slide guitar,
buying his first National steel guitar in 1979. He began playing blues
gigs, both as a solo artist and in various local bands in the early
In 1983 he met Ed Genis and they began playing music together, a
partnership that has lasted for the past two decades. During that year,
Messer started gigging regularly with British blues singer, Mike Cooper,
and through him he got known on the folk and blues circuit. In 1984,
Cooper asked him to play slide guitar on The Continuous Preaching
Blues, an album he was recording with Ian Anderson (now editor of
The Michael Messer Band was formed in 1985 and they cut their first
album, Diving Duck, in 1987 which received some fantastic
reviews. “Beautifully played. Diving Duck is the kind of album Ry
Cooder should be making”. Q magazine
In 1989 Messer produced and played on an album with the legendary
Venice Beach busker, Ted Hawkins, called I Love You Too, which
was later re-released as Nowhere to Run. In that same year
he became friends with the late S.E. Rogie and produced some tracks for
his New Sounds of S.E. Rogie album.
Messer’s second album Slidedance was released in 1990, and
one year later, he was voted Acoustic Blues Artist of the Year
at the B.B.C Awards. “To say that Messer is a slide guitarist
is like describing Mother Theresa as a nun! Slidedance is possibly the
finest blues / world music album of the year. One of the best slide
guitarists Britain has ever produced”. Time Out
Rhythm Oil, a trio album with songwriter Terry Clarke and Texas
guitar ace, Jesse ‘Guitar’ Taylor, was released in 1993. The CD boasts
sleeve notes written by the late Johnny Cash, a rare honour shared with
Bob Dylan and Kris Kristofferson. “What I hear here is the real
thing - Bare-bones blues gut-bucket rural rock. This record carried me
away to a long time ago, down a delta dirt road to a land of my musical
good-old-daysing. PS…Don't squeeze the trigger, if you can't stand the
recoil.” Johnny Cash
1995 saw the release of Moonbeat, which featured a mixture of world
music and blues, as well as DJ Louie Genis (son of rhythm guitarist Ed)
scratching old blues vinyl. A practise that became popular a few years
later with the likes of Little Axe, Moby and R.L. Burnside.
"MOONbeat is an extraordinary, innovative album that deserves to be
In 1999, Messer went to Alberta to record with Canadian
guitarist/songwriter Doug Cox. One of Cox’s songs from the sessions,
Cold When I’m Dead, which features Messer playing electric slide
guitar, can be heard in the latest Terry Gilliam movie Tideland.
In 2001 Messer released King Guitar, a compilation album
comprising of sixteen tracks from back catalogue. The album received
critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic, reached number one in
the US Living Blues chart and in May 2001 was the most played
album on US college radio. One prominent American reviewer described him
as “an unavoidable force in modern blues” and commented that “King
Guitar has met a new century with style, grace and a new
colourful direction for the music”.
Second Mind, recorded and released in 2002 followed the
widespread success of King Guitar. This highly anticipated and
critically acclaimed album featured Messer’s regular band, plus the
great Ruby Turner on backing vocals. DJ Louie Genis came back into the
fold and this time instead of working on one or two tracks, he cut loose
and played on the whole album, creating a sound that was both totally
contemporary and very traditional. The album won the Best Blues
Guitar Album at the 2003 International Guitar Federation
awards, beating other nominees including Chris Rea, Sonny Landreth and
Eric Bibb. On ‘Second Mind’, Michael delivered a set of
recordings that stretch across the musical landscape. Deeply rooted in
and inflected with the blues, the album incorporates a rich and
diverse texture of different styles that appeal to an array of musical
Messer signed to Cooking Vinyl in 2005 and released his eighth album,
Lucky Charms, in February 2006. Recorded and mixed the old
way with no digital trickery or computers, just reels of tape, live
performances, an old mixing desk and a lot of patience. The album
features ten original songs. Louie Genis, now very much a part of the
Michael Messer sound, is scratching and texturing with loops, old vinyl
and home made samples, and the music has a more acoustic feel to it than
Second Mind. Ed Genis is playing rhythm guitar, Richard Causon is
on keyboards, Jerry Soffe is on bass, Simon Price is on the drums, and
of course Michael Messer is singing and playing slide guitar. Lucky
Charms has garnered some fantastic reviews and along with recent
tour dates, festival appearances and live sessions for various radio
stations during 2006, Michael Messer is becoming known worldwide for his
unique sounding band, Michael Messer & the Second Mind Band.
In 2007 Soyuz Music in Russia released Lucky Charms, Second Mind & King
Guitar. The albums garnered excellent reviews and magazine coverage in
the Russian press. 2007 also saw the release of the National Debt CD,
'From the Horse's Mouth'. The album was featured on Mark Lamarr's BBC
Radio 2 show and received great reviews from the British music press. In
November 2007 Michael Messer & BJ Cole debuted their steel & slide
guitar show 'That Sliding Sound' at the International Festival of Guitar
in Lancashire. The show was a great success and Michael & BJ are
planning to make a DVD & CD of 'That Sliding Sound'. In July of 2007,
along with the Campbell Brothers and Debashish Bhattacharya, Michael
Messer was one of three featured slide guitarists at the Cognac Blues
Passions Festival. Later in 2007 Michael Messer & Ed Genis played to an
ecstatic crowd at the prestigious 'Issoudun Guitar Festival', in France.
2008 marked twenty five years of Michael Messer & Ed Genis playing
together as a duo. The year started with an amazing run of sell-out UK
tour dates for Michael Messer & Ed Genis. 2008 was also the year that
Michael Messer stepped into another area of the industry and launched
his own brand of resonator guitars. True to form and always breaking the
mould, Michael's venture into the guitar industry is a very unusual
among recording artists. Two models, the Michael Messer BLUES and
the Michael Messer LIGHTNING, came onto the market in August. News about
these new guitars spread very quickly and the first shipment was
completely sold before it arrived in the UK. The MM range of resonator
guitars are fast becoming brand leaders in the acoustic guitar market
around the world.
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