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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Little Arthur Duncan RIP

More sad news tonight. Little Arthur Duncan passed away after complications from brain surgery. As you know Arthur had been in the hospital for quite sometime. Below is a press release from Kevin Johnson at Delmark, and a news update from Bob Corritore. Also click here for a review of his last DVD.

Very, very sad Chicago blues news to report. Two of the nicest Chicago bluesmen passed away yesterday, our dear friend Little Arthur Duncan (from complications from brain surgery) and Phil Guy. Arthur and Phil were not only both underappreciated outstanding blues musicians, but truly great fans of the blues. While many musicians do not go out to the clubs unless they are playing, both Arthur and Phil were seen out all the time with big infectious smiles listening to their favorite blues artists. The Chicago Blues scene will not be the same...
Little Arthur Duncan was absolutely the sweetest guy I personally knew on the Chicago blues scene. He was a great friend, a proud and very well respected man, a wonderful story teller with a great sense of humor, and one of the last of the down home Chicago blues singers and harp players- Blues with a FEELING. Mr. Duncan also held the best blues parties, with his great southern soul food cooking. We'll miss you, Mr Back Scratcher!

Kevin Johnson
773 539 5001

This is from our friend Bob Corritore....

• RIP Little Arthur Duncan 2/5/1934-8/20/2008: It is with great sadness that we report yet another passing in this terrible week of losses to our blues community. Chicago harmonica ace Little Arthur Duncan passed away Wednesday morning, August 20, 2008 at Kindred Hospital in Northlake, IL. He was 74. He had been incapacitated for months with little hope of recovery. Born February 5, 1934 in Indianola, Mississippi, Arthur moved to Chicago at age 16, where he heard and befriended Little Walter, who inspired him to take up the harmonica. While holding down a construction day job, he began performing around Chicago with John Brim, Floyd Jones, and Hip Lankchan. He would later own and operate the Artesia Lounge on Lake Street, which moved to West Madison Street and reopened as Backscratcher's Social Club. Owning a club gave Arthur a regular place to perform, and he became a popular neighborhood attraction on the West Side. Twist Turner produced some of Arthur's first recordings, which appeared first on cassette and then on Cannonball Records' Blues Across America series. As Arthur's stature grew in Chicago, he recorded more, cutting two beautiful CDs for Delmark (Singin' With The Sun and Live At Rosa's Blues Lounge), and one for Random Chance (Live In Chicago). He was a simply great vocalist, with tremendous power and expressiveness; and his sparse harmonica was always on the money. He specialized in third position and chromatic harmonica. His final band included Illinois Slim, Rick Kreher, and Twist Turner. He had a warm and gracious personality, and his passing leaves a huge hole in the Chicago blues scene, as he was one of a handful of the dwindling old school harmonica masters. We will miss you, Arthur.

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