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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Alex "Easy Baby" Randle RIP

From Bob Corritore

RIP Alex "Easy Baby" Randle 8/3/1934 - 9/25/2009 : This sad news from Chicago area bassist and record producer Karl Meyer about the passing of Chicago blues harmonica great Easy Baby: Alex Randle, known to the world as "Easy Baby", passed away Friday, September 25, 2009 after suffering from pneumonia. He was 75 years old. Alex "Easy Baby" Randle was born 1934 in Memphis, Tennessee. For the first seven years of his life, he lived in Michigan City, Mississippi, with his grandmother and uncle, before moving back to Memphis to attend school. His grandmother and uncle were harmonica players; so, it was natural for Easy Baby to pick up the harmonica. In the early 1950's, when Easy Baby was still a teenager, he began playing professionally around Memphis while working a variety of odd jobs, including installing floors and shining shoes. While playing in the juke joints and gambling houses in Memphis, he befriended Howlin' Wolf, James Cotton, and Joe Hill Louis, among others. In 1956, Easy Baby moved to Chicago. Throughout the 1950's, 1960's, and 1970's Easy Baby sang and played all over Chicago, while working as a mechanic. He worked a long stint at the Rat Trap Inn in Chicago during the 1970s and made appearances at the Chicago Blues Festival in 1998, 2000, and 2003. Easy Baby released 2 records under his own name: Sweet Home Chicago Blues on the Barrelhouse label and If It Aint One Thing It's Another on the Wolf record label. Additionally he had cuts on 3 harmonica anthologies: Bring Me Another Half-A-Pint on Barrelhouse, Low Blows on Rooster, and Blues Harmonica Orgy on Random Chance. Unreleased sides exist recorded for Steve Wisner during the 1970s which will someday see the light of day. Easy Baby had a beautiful high register voice and a sparse harmonica style (specializing in Chromatic and third position). He was a kind and gentle man and was one of a dwindling number of the old school Chicago blues harmonica masters. Click here to see Karl Meyer's tribute page to Easy Baby.

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