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Friday, February 4, 2011

Jeannie Webster RIP

From Bob Corritore

  • RIP Blues Sister Jeannie Webster - July 17, 1941 - January 28, 2011. The sad news of the passing of the woman affectionately known as "Blues Sister Jeanie" comes to us from harmonicist Dave Berntson. Blues Sister Jeanie was based in Tulsa, Oklahoma and was a loving mother figure to all blues artists, fans, and festivals, who she consistently went out of her way to support. She could often be found at the blues fesivals such as the King Biscuit Blues Festival and the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, volunteering for the cause. Here is an excerpt from David Berntson's obit; Growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, she listened to r&b music, enjoying songs by the likes of Hank Ballard, Fats Domino, Bill Doggett, and other great American artists. As a teenager, she could be found at live R & B shows, showing off the latest dance steps.  Jeanie was a founding member of the Tulsa Blues Club, and later, the Blues Society of Tulsa, where she was a tireless volunteer in helping to promote blues events in Tulsa. She often came to shows with her sister Linda, and they soon had the nickname of the Blues Sisters. Jeanie’s husband, Arnold was always supportive as Jeanie’s love for blues spread from Tulsa across the country. Over the years, Jeanie traveled to and attended countless blues festivals, volunteering for blues societies throughout the country. She was gifted at staffing the poster signing table, making sure that every artist signed scores of posters.  It was a tough job corralling road-weary blues artists, but Jeanie managed it with great wit and charm. Jeanie and Arnold welcomed many blues artists to their home as they passed through Tulsa. She would offer a home-cooked meal and a place to stay, providing a short respite to traveling blues performers. Through her good friendships with many blues artists, Jeanie built a world-class collection of blues memorabilia. Much of it can now be found at the Delta Cultural Center on Cherry Street, in downtown Helena, Arkansas. Jeanie’s down-home blues style and her love for the music and its people made her one of the grand ambassadors of the Blues. She is survived by Arnold, her husband of 44 years, 5 children, and many grandchildren.

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