Friday, January 13, 2023

In Memoriam: 2022 Blues Deaths

Friday Blues Fix pays tribute to those blues people who passed away in 2022.  It seems like we lost a lot of folks this year, not just in the blues, but with the blues, there are so many older artists who are still performing and making vital music at what might be considered an advanced age by some, so in a way it could be expected.  That doesn't mean we have to like it one bit, though.  It's sad to see artists you've followed for so long pass away. 

These are all the names I was able to come up with that passed away this year.  If you know of any others, please let me know in the comments and I will add them to this list as we go.

Classie Ray Ballou, Jr. (67) – blues/zydeco bass player (Boozoo Chavis)

Howard Grimes (80) drummer (Stax Records, Hi Records)

Sam Lay (86) drummer (Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, James Cotton, Bob Dylan, Paul Butterfield, etc…)

Milton Hopkins (88) – guitarist (Grady Gaines, Bobby Bland, B.B. King, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, etc…..)

Elijah Newsome (83) – Greenwood, MS bluesman

Charles K. “Guitar Charlie” Rickard (75) – Greenville, MS guitarist (Booba Barnes, Lil’ Dave Thompson, T-Model Ford)

Charles Lee “Delta Blues Hogg” Hayes (79) – Wisconsin bluesman

Jimmy Johnson (93) – Chicago bluesman

Syl Johnson (85) – Chicago blues and soul man

David “Guitar Shorty” Kearney (82) – blues guitarist

Barbara Morrison (72) – jazz/blues singer

Dennis Walker (79) – songwriter/producer/bass player

Millage Gilbert (83) – Kansas City bluesman

Kris Schnebelen (41) – drummer (Trampled Under Foot)

Classie Ballou, Sr. (84) – blues/zydeco guitarist

Pete Lowry (81) – blues scholar/writer/educator, founder of Trix Records)

Grana Louise Smith (69) – Chicago blues singer

Red Kelly, The Soul Detective (67) – blues/soul researcher (

Greg “Slim Lively” Johnson (60) – Cascade Blues Association president, I.B.C. and BMA M.C.

Richard Molina (72) – guitarist/bandleader

Deborah McCrary (67) – singer (McCrary Sisters)

Lola Gulley (57) – Atlanta’s “Queen of the Blues”

Terry Delafose (60) – zydeco bass player drummer (John Delafose and the Eunice Playboys, Geno Delafose and French Rocking Boogie)

Bobby O’Jay (68) – WDIA DJ

Paul Garon (80) – Blues author/scholar, co-founder of Living Blues magazine

David “Chainsaw” Dupont (66) – Chicago blues guitarist

Sonny Sitgraves (84) – drummer (Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Johnny Littlejohn)

James “Chicken Scratch” Johnson (82) – guitarist (Slim Harpo)

Grandpa Elliot Small (77) – New Orleans singer/harmonica player

Walter "Wolfman" Washington (79) - New Orleans blues and soul singer/guitarist

Paul T. Kwami (70) – Fisk Jubilee Singers member/director

Andy Story (78) – New York bluesman

Jim Davis (71) - New York tenor sax player (Brad Vickers, Paul Oscher, Steve Lucky, Gas House Gorillas)

Hardrick Rivers (65) – Louisiana sax player

Harpdog Brown (59) – Canadian harmonica player/singer

Doug Jay (58) – Harp Player (Doug Jay and the Blue Jays)

Jim Stewart (92) – Co-founder of Stax Records

Christine McVie (79) – English singer/keyboardist (Chicken Shack/Fleetwood Mac)

Marty Sammon (45) – Chicago keyboardist (Buddy Guy)

Kim Simmonds (75) – guitarist/vocalist (Savoy Brown)

Willie J Campbell (65) – bass player (James Harman, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Mannish Boys)

Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson (83) – Chicago singer/guitarist


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