Louisiana Red

Louisiana Red is a blues musician. Just hearing his name kind of makes you think he might be… And he’s really lived the blues. He was born Alabama in 1932, and his mother died shortly after childbirth. When he was nine, his father was killed by the Ku-Klux-Klan. In ’72, his first wife died of cancer (he is since remarried to a woman named Dora. She produced his latest cd, “Live at Painted Sky”). That’s to name a few things. You know. Isn’t everyone’s life that tough? Talk about perspective… He currently splits his time between Germany and Africa, and plays clubs, cafe’s, and music festivals across the U.S.

Louisiana Red has played with a number of blues kings including Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Lightning Hopkins. I had the honor of seeing Mr. Red (his birth name is Iverson Minter) play at The Rosendale Cafe last Saturday night. The Rosendale Cafe is a wonderful place, there aren’t many like it left. At least not around here… It is the perfect setting to see a nice intimate show by any performer/band and Louisina Red was no different. He played there once before but I hadn’t been able to make, so I was glad to catch him this time. For the first half of the show, Louisiana Red played acoustic with pick-up. He ended the set with the Christian hymnal (and the most damn rousing version of the song I’ve ever heard), “I Come To The Garden Alone.” When he came back for the second half he played electric. He closed the second set with a beautiful rendition of “Goodnight Irene” (on which he got the whole crowd to sing along).

My favorite songs of the evening were the ones he played at the end of the sets, as mentioned above. I don’t have any videos to share however, because I was told that Louisiana Red’s record label forbids it. I enjoyed seeing him play, but it was a little sad for me. His voice is still strong and can evoke tears with the pain it conveys when he sings, but his health isn’t what it once was, and his fingers aren’t what they once were either. Except for a few flashes of brilliance, Red’s playing was not great. That said, I have a lot of respect for the man. It was great to see him because he’s one of the only living links that we have to the history of the blues. “Rock and Roll will never die”? Well, let’s hope the blues won’t either.

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