Tampa Red Biography

Born: Jan. 8, 1904, Smithville, GA, USA.

Died: March 19, 1981, Chicago, IL, USA.

One of Chicago's earliest blues guitar stars.

He came by his nick-name because he was raised in Tampa, Florida and because of his red hair.

He is best recalled as part of the team of Tampa Red and Georgia Tom (Dorsey), - The Hokum Boys. But, Tampa Red also created several "Jug" bands including 'Tampa Red's Hokum Jug Band' (which incidentally featured a young Frankie Jaxon), and 'The Tub Jug Washboard Band' which did a lot of recording with blues singer Ma Rainey. He also recorded alone, and cut a number of exquisite guitar solos. By the time of his 1928 recording debut for Vocalion, he had developed the clear, precise bottleneck blues guitar style that earned him his billing, The Guitar Wizard'. His "Bottleneck Guitar" and single-string solo style, inspired a number of other early Chicago Blues guitarists, namely, Big Bill Broonzy and Robert Nighthawk.

Tampa Red was also one of the most prolific Blues composers, writing such Blues standards as "Sweet Black Angel", "Love Her With A Feeling", "Don't You Lie To Me", and "It Hurts Me Too" (covered respectively by B.B. King, Freddy King, Fats Domino and Elmore James among others). He was perhaps the most influential of all the early 20th century Blues guitarists.

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