Luther Allison: Low Down and Dirty

One of the great True Blues players was LUTHER ALLISON. Born in Widener, Arkansas, he moved to Chicago in the early 50's. Luther was a self-taught guitarist and immersed himself in the Blues. He started hanging around the Blues Clubs in Chicago waiting for a break.

One night in 1957 he played with Howling Wolf's band and then backed up James Cotton, learning the ropes of live performance. Freddie King took an interest in him and when Freddie got a record deal, arranged for Luther to take his place on the Chicago Blues Club circuit where he made his bones.

In 1972 he was signed to Motown Records, one of the few Blues Artists there, and began non-stop touring including Europe 8 months a year, where he found real appreciation for his music and a minimum of the prejudice he and other black entertainers suffered in the U.S. Luther Allison was known for powerful Concerts , playing long solos on his Gibson Les Paul guitar while crowd walking. Because Blues Records were not widely exposed on radio at the time, his many releases are now treasured by collectors and his dedicated following.

He won four W. C. Handy Awards in 1994, and several Living Blues awards for his body of work. Then, in the summer of 1997, he started to have dizziness, became uncoordinated and checked into a Hospital in Madison, WI, to receive bad news. Luther Allison was diagnosed with a tumor on his lung that had metastasized to his brain. He began to fall in and out of comas, and in died five days before his 58th birthday.

The early deaths of a lot of these Blues guys may have had to do with their lifestyle: booze, cigarettes, late nights and little sleep, and a far from healthy diet. But they loved what they did, playing their music, and probably had more interesting experiences in their shorter lives than most folks do in longer lifetimes.

Scott found a really nice clip of Luther doing LOW DOWN AND DIRTY, Live in Concert with HD video and sound. This is artistic greatness personified beautifully reproduced. @therealdonrocks

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