Lowell Fulson

Blues guitarist Lowell Fulson recorded steadily from 1946 onwards, and performed regularly on the US and European club circuits into the 90s. One of the founding fathers of West Coast blues, Fulson blended the rural blues of his home state Oklahoma, with the modern sounds of urban California. Fulson was raised in Atoka, close to the Texas border, and began his career performing with string bands and backing country blues vocalist Alger ‘Texas’ Alexander in the late 30s.

During World War II he was stationed in Oakland, California, where he met record producer Bob Geddins. Following his discharge from the US Navy, Fulson recorded for several labels under the direction of Geddins, including Big Town, Down Town, Gilt Edge and Trilon. His first hit came in 1950 on the Swing Time label when he reworked Memphis Slim’s ‘Nobody Loves Me’ into ‘Every Day I Have The Blues’. At that time his 12-piece orchestra included a young Ray Charles on piano and tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine.

Fulson recorded for Aladdin Records in 1953 and then switched to Checker Records, a subsidiary of Chess Records, the following year. His first side for that company, ‘Reconsider Baby’, was later covered by Elvis Presley and became a blues standard. Fulson stayed with Checker Records into the early 60s and then moved to Kent Records, who changed the spelling of his name. Now recording in a more contemporary and commercial soul-blues vein, Fulson’s biggest hits for Kent were ‘Black Nights’ in 1965 and ‘Tramp’ a year later. The latter song, co-written with Jimmy McCracklin, was later a duet hit for Otis Redding and Carla Thomas.

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