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Jazz Music

Snooks Eaglin - Alberta (1960)

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Snooks EaglinWhen they referred to consistently amazing guitarist Snooks Eaglin as a human jukebox in his New Orleans hometown, they weren't dissing him in the slightest. The blind Eaglin was a beloved figure in the Crescent City, not only for his gritty, Ray Charles-inspired vocal delivery and wholly imaginative approach to the guitar, but for the seemingly infinite storehouse of oldies that he was liable to pull out on-stage at any second -- often confounding his bemused band in the process! His earliest recordings in 1958 for Folkways presented Eaglin as a solo acoustic folk-blues artist with an extremely eclectic repertoire. His dazzling fingerpicking was nothing short of astonishing, but he really wanted to be making R&B with a band. Imperial Records producer Dave Bartholomew granted him the opportunity in 1960, and the results were sensational. Eaglin's fluid, twisting lead guitar on the utterly infectious "Yours Truly" (a Bartholomew composition first waxed by Pee Wee Crayton) and its sequel, "Cover Girl," was unique on the New Orleans R&B front, while his brokenhearted cries on "Don't Slam That Door" and "That Certain Door" were positively mesmerizing.
Mr. Eaglin met his future wife, Dorethea "Dee" Eaglin, at a Flamingos gig during Mardi Gras 1958. They married in 1961 and she became his constant companion and confidant. Dee would sit nearby as her husband performed.
Blancher was among the few music industry figures that Mr. Eaglin allowed to visit his house. But even he was unaware of the guitarist's deteriorating health. Blancher learned in January that Mr. Eaglin had been battling prostate cancer.
Mr. Eaglin last performed at the Mid-City Lanes in July. Blancher spoke to him recently about booking a show in March. "He said, 'I'm going to wait until Jazz Fest. I'm not going to do any gigs until then,'" Blancher said. "I was surprised by that."

Interesting part of rural blues history, rather early recording from Snooks Eaglin, at that time known as Blind Snooks.

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