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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Big John Evans RIP

From Bob Corritore

  • RIP Big John Evans, deceased 11/9/2009 Sacramento master blues drummer Big John Evans passed away on Monday, November 9, 2009. Big John had suffered from a stoke in September of this year. Best known for his many years of work with Johnny Heartsman, Evans also worked with Little Junior Parker and recorded with Heartsman, Tiny Powell, and Charlie Musselwhite. Big John was recognized with a West Coast Blues Hall Of Fame induction in 2007. Sadly, no biographical information is available at this time.


Just got this from a friend of Big John Evans, and thought I would pass it along.

Dear Blues Man,

I am a long time friend of John's and just found out he has passed
away. I have not been able to find an obituary, death notice, who what
when where or why of his death but am still looking. I know he had been
struggling with his health for the last few years. Being homeless and
living out of his care didn't help the situation.

John and I have had long talks about his life so maybe I can fill in
some gaps for you.

He quit school when he was in the 7th grade. Everyday he would go to
the pool hall to listen to bands practice. That's how he learned to
play the drums. The musicians would put him on their laps and teach
him. His first teacher was Charlie Musselwaite.

Over the years John has played with all the great's. He was invited to
the BB King Blues festival in Banff Canada. He was tickled pink and I
still have the keychain he brought back for me. He played with Johnny
Heartsman on his "Touch" CD. Tiny Powell, Little Junior Parker, the
list goes on and on. In 2007 he was inducted into the West Coast Blues
Hall of Fame. That was a wonderful night for John. He saw people he
hadn't seen in years and he spoke with them all. He even found his
first girlfriend! (You could have knocked him over with a feather when
he saw her. But he immediately asked me to take pictures.)

He formed his band, " Big John and the Chosen Few" in Sacramento, CA.
He played from the valley to the mountains and loved every minute of
it. In 2001 he walked into my bar and asked if I needed a band for the
weekend. I told him I'd give him a try. That was the beginning of a
great friendship. He became the house band. Everyone loved to come and
hear John play.

John was always generous with his time. All you had to say was the word
"benefit" and John would be there.

He has an extensive family with many sons but mostly daughters around
the Sacramento Valley. Only in the last 10 years did he find his
daughters and start getting to know them and his grandchildren. This
was a source of great joy for John.

I knew something was wrong when I didn't hear from him at Thanksgiving.
I tried calling him but his phone number had been assigned to someone
else. So I sent him a letter. Come Christmas and I still didn't hear
from him I knew something was wrong and started hunting for him. I
finally found a small line on a search under his name last night.
Something inside me already knew he was with our Father.

John is my friend but more than that he is my brother. I love him
dearly. He always had my back and I his. He has touched lives around
the world with his music, his humanity and kindness and I miss him. May
his soul find peace.

Pattie Harris

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