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Longtime, But Unknown, Blues Musicians Release CD

Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD
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Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who worked with him and other legends have made their own CD.

Longtime, But Unknown, Blues Musicians Release CD
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BB King. Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. Elmore James. These are some famous names in American blues music. You might have heard them before.

But none of those beloved artists made their music on their own. There were supported by many other talented performers. Recently, some of these lesser known musicians decided to record and release their own music.

These artists have played for years in bands. Millions of people have heard their work. VOA has been following the musicians for the past year as they prepared their own CD.

They call themselves, “Original Legends of the Blues.” They chose the name not in praise of themselves but to honor the legendary musicians with whom they played.

Eric Demmer performed around the world for more than 12 years with Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown.

“I was with him up until about four days before he died and it was real hard to see that happen. I felt like it would have been nice to have him around a few more years.”

James “Boogaloo” Bolden has been playing trumpet with BB King’s band for more than 35 years. He says people around the world have heard the blues, music created by slaves and former slaves in the southern United States.

“Now, other people, they listen to it and they say, ‘ Well, okay, I wasn’t a slave, but, man, I had a hard time paying this bill last month and I am about to lose this job.’”

Charlie Dennis has played guitar with the BB King band since 2002.

“We started realizing that BB’s getting older, so we started to working on, trying to work on on other projects, to keep stuff going on.”

Jimmi Mayes sings and plays the drums. He has played with Elmore James and Jimi Hendrix. He joined the Original Legends of the Blues for the recording of the CD.

“We are not backingup anybody. We are playing for us.”

He has many stories to tell, but he enjoys the stories of others as well.

“I've been listening to Boogaloo and Charlie talking about some of the things with BB, and Eric be talking about Gatemouth Brown. There’s a lot of history in this group.”

The CD is called “Still Carrying the Flame.” It was released recently. Radio stations around the world are playing songs from the album. The band hopes to perform the songs at live music shows soon.

I’m Caty Weaver.

Greg Flakus reported this story from Houston, Texas. Christopher Jones-Cruise wrote it for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.


Words in This Story

talented adj. having a special ability to do something well

original adj. happening or existing first or at the beginning

legend n. a famous or important person who is known for doing something extremely well

back up phrasal verb, to support

flame n. the hot, glowing gas that can be seen when a fire is burning

Blues music was born in the United States. What kind of music was born in your country? We want to hear from you. Write your thoughts in the comments section.