Rockers dating 30s
Everybody calls me Bobby Rush”
Acclaimed King of the Chitlin’ Circuit, Grammy nominated recording artist Bobby Rush has just released his box set 50 Years As A Mississippi Blues Legend. Hot off his Grammy Nomination for “Decisions”, Bobby Rush picked up the 2015 Blues Music Awards highest honor, B.B. King Entertainer of the Year plus the Best Male Blues Artist Award.
To be a woman singing your own original blues and soul songs in 1960s Texas was a rare thing. To do so while brandishing a left-handed Stratocaster and bashing out hard-edged licks was inconceivable. Yet that’s just what Barbara Lynn did, debuting with “You’ll Lose A Good Thing,” a number 1 US Billboard R&B chart hit and Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hit in 1962.
Henry Gray, Louisiana-based pianist and singer, was born January 19, 1925 in Kenner, LA, now a suburb of New Orleans. He has been playing for more than seven decades, and has played with a multitude of artists including Robert Lockwood, Jr., Billy Boy Arnold, Morris Pejoe, the Rolling Stones, Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf among many others. He has more than 58 albums to his credit, including recordings for the Chess Records label. He is credited as helping to create the distinctive sound of the Chicago blues piano. Shortly after he was born Gray, an only child, moved with his parents to a farm in Alsen, Louisiana, a few miles north of Baton Rouge, where he would spend his childhood years. Gray began studying piano at the age of eight with a neighborhood woman, Mrs. White. A few years later, Gray began playing piano and organ at his local Baptist church, and his family eventually got a piano for the house. While blues playing was not encouraged within his family's home, Henry did play blues at Mrs. White's house, and by the time he was 16 he was playing blues music at a club in Alsen.
Lil' Buck Sinegal
Lil’ Buck Sinegal, “Master of the Stratocaster,” from Lafayette, Louisiana. His career has spanned more than five decades, with over 300 recordings, having played and recorded with Clifton Chenier, Henry Gray, Rockin’ Dopsie, Buckwheat Zydeco, and other blues artists, including Grammy-winning efforts with Paul Simon’s 1987 album “Graceland.” He may be best known as the world’s finest zydeco guitarist. In the late ’90s, Sinegal recorded an album for Allen Toussaint’s NYNO label (on which Toussaint also played keyboards and produced) that gave a good idea of his wide-ranging abilities. Allen Toussaint calls Paul “Lil’ Buck” Sinegal the “Gentle Giant of Guitar. He also worked as a session guitarist for Excello on swamp blues by Slim Harpo and Lazy Lester. Paul “Lil’ Buck” Sinegal is a true Louisiana guitarist in that he’s played in several styles.” The Li’l Buck Blues band is a mix of Blues, Soul, Rhythm & Blues, Rock and everything in between, with a distinct SouthWestern Louisiana feel. Lil’ Buck was inducted into the Louisiana Blues Hall of Fame in 1999.
Jimmy "Duck" Holmes
Jimmy “Duck” Holmes is a deep-roots folk blues musician who carries on the Bentonia blues tradition, in what some musicologists describe as American-primitivism. There is nothing fancy or polished here. This is hardcore folk blues not meant for the weak-hearted. He plays a simple, relatively repetitive and monotone style that is at once ethereal, gritty and rough-hewn, even crude, and therein lies its beauty. Holmes was born to sharecroppers Carey and Mary Holmes in 1947, the year before they opened the Blue Front Cafe, in Bentonia, MS, Jimmy "Duck" Holmes is now the proprietor of this cafe, one of the oldest juke joints in Mississippi. In the mid-2000s he began performing blues actively after many years of performing casually, and has already garnered several awards and many accolades. He is a practitioner and conscious advocate of this distinctive blues style from his hometown, Bentonia, MS, whose most famous proponent was blues pioneer Skip James. Bentonia is home to the legendary Skip James, famous for his falsetto vocals and his mastery of a rare blues guitar style that has become known as the “Bentonia style”. Though James died in 1969, this local style is preserved in the playing of Jimmy Duck Holmes, who has emerged as one of, if not the only living practitioner of the Bentonia style. And you can still hear it played today at The Blue Front Cafe.
Blues guitarist and singer/songwriter Robert "Bilbo" Walker was raised in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. Born February 19, 1937, on the Borden Plantation in Clarksdale. He lives in California and gets back to Mississippi frequently.
Leslie Johnson was born June 20, 1933 in the small town of Torras, Louisiana and raised mostly in Scotlandville, a suburb of Baton Rouge. As a boy, he worked as a gas station attendant, woodcutter and grocery store clerk, where he purchased a harmonica and Little Walter’s famous “Juke” record.
Carol Fran, American soul blues singer, pianist and songwriter was born in Lafayette, Louisiana, October 23, 1933. Fran is best known for her string of single releases in the 1950s and 1960s, and her later musical association with her husband, Clarence Hollimon.
Russell Peters' Junos Rape Joke Was Even Worse Than You Think
"Look at all the young girls, this is a felony waiting to happen."
That was the "joke" that Russell Peters used to open up the 2017 Junos on Sunday, an award show that had already been marred by a second consecutive year of the #JunosSoMale debate over gender-imbalanced nominees. Peters then proceeded to reduce Canada's heritage minister, the Honourable Melanie Joly, to being "hot."
The show went on, but anger over Peters has continued to build as have the usual defenders crying about how it was just a joke.
Comedian Russell Peters performs at the 2017 Juno Awards in Ottawa, April 2, 2017. (Photo: Blair Gable/Reuters)
What Peters was "joking" about was that these "young girls" -- these female fans who were just excited to be close to the stage for this celebration of Canadian music -- might get raped by an adult later that night.
In Canada, it's illegal for adults to have sex with children under 16, though there is "close-in-age exception" if 14 and 15-year-olds have sex with someone less than five years older. So for it to be a felony, as Peters "joked," this would be statutory rape between a young girl and a much older man.
While things have improved over the years, the music industry's statutory rape problem has not gone away.
Think about how it made those girls, and others watching from home, to hear a famous comedian joke about their rape on a national TV award show.
I was in the Ottawa arena at this point and the silence was deafening. Not so much on Twitter, where 140-character battles were waged between those who don't think raping teenagers is funny and those who like typing the acronym SJW and arguing that we should all just lighten up and take a joke.
Now, why did Peters think the Junos was the appropriate venue for his rape joke? Well, that's the other layer of the bit -- male music stars are known for statutory rape of young girls.
Chuck Berry, for instance, recently passed away. While the obits honoured him as the "architect of rock 'n' roll," many also mentioned the fact in 1961 he was sent to prison for illegally transporting Native American teen Janice Escalante across state lines for "immoral purposes."
Rock 'n' roll musician Chuck Berry poses for a portrait with fans circa 1975. (Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
In 1958, Berry had a big hit with "Sweet Little Sixteen" in which he sings:
"She's got the grown-up blues / Tight dresses and lipstick / She's sportin' high-heel shoes / Oh but tomorrow morning / She'll have to change her trend / And be sweet sixteen / And back in class again."
That was the same year that Jerry Lee Lewis went to jail for marrying his 13-year-old cousin, 10 years his junior. The next year, 24-year-old Elvis Presley met his future wife Priscilla. She was 14.
Things would get even worse in the years to come, as this Thrillist article about the "baby groupie" scene points out:
"In the early 1970s, the Sunset Strip was a magnet for rock stars: Bowie, Zeppelin, Iggy Pop, Mott the Hoople, The Who. They all hung out in the VIP rooms of louche L.A. nightclubs. And with them, of course, came groupies. Scantily clad 14- and 15-year-olds. sipped cherry cola, dropped pills and evolved into pubescent dream girls for the platform-shoed rockers who could get anything and anyone they desired."
One of those girls, Lori Maddox (sometimes spelled Mattix), says she lost her virginity to David Bowie when she was 14 or 15 and was soon after kidnapped by Led Zeppelin's 29-year-old guitarist Jimmy Page. In the book Hammer of the Gods, she says Led Zep roadie Richard Cole was sent over with the message, "Jimmy told me that he's going to have you whether you like it or not."
Guitarist Jimmy Page of the rock band Led Zeppelin at Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco with groupie Lori Maddox and Rodney in June 1972 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
She stayed with Page, largely kept behind closed doors so he could avoid imprisonment, for three years.
One of Maddox's friends, Sable Starr, moved in with the New York Dolls' Johnny Thunders at 16, inspiring the Iggy Pop song "Look Away":
"I slept with Sable when she was 13 / Her parents were too rich to do anything / She rocked her way around L.A. / 'Til a New York Doll carried her away."
Don Henley was arrested in 1980 after he called paramedics to his house to save a naked 16-year-old girl who was overdosing. Henley was 33.
Bassist Arthur Kane of the glam rock band New York Dolls poses for a portrait with young groupies including Sable Starr (left) circa 1973 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo: Richard Creamer/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
When Ted Nugent was 30, the guy who sang "Jailbait" became the legal guardian of his 17-year-old girlfriend Pele Massa to avoid charges. Aerosmith's Steven Tyler did the same at age 27 so he could take 14-year-old "girlfriend" Julia Holcomb across state lines on tour.
Ex-Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman began "dating" Mandy Smith when she was 13 and he was 47.
Prince moved 17-year-old Anna Garcia into Paisely Park when he was 12 years older, while Marvin Gaye had a relationship with Janis Hunter, also 17, when he was twice her age, inspiring his song "Let's Get It On."
While things have improved over the years, the music industry's statutory rape problem has not gone away, as anyone who has followed R. Kelly's career is well aware. Here are just some of the rape allegations, and let's not forget he "married" Aaliyah when she was 15 and he was 27.
Fans reach out to touch U.S. vocalist, songwriter and producer R. Kelly as he performs on the final day of the St. Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival at Pigeon Island National Landmark, May 12, 2013. (Photo: Andrea De Silva/Reuters)
So this is the real background to Russell Peters' "felony waiting to happen" remark. This is why he thought it would be funny.
Maybe it could have been, perhaps at a comedy club and not an award show, if he had been punching up and mocking the predators rather than the prey.
But as delivered, the fact that male musicians have been using their fame to statutorily rape young girls for decades is not a joke by any definition.
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