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Sunday, October 16, 2011

George "Mojo" Buford RIP

From Bob Corritore





RIP George "Mojo" Buford - November 29, 1929 - October 11, 2011. Best known as the longtime harmonica player in the Muddy Waters Band, George "Mojo" Buford was well known for his beautiful, raw-edged harmonica style, and his rich, emotional vocals. He died in a hospital in Minneapolis this morning after suffering with various health issues since early this summer. He was 81 years old. Born in Hernando, Mississippi in 1929, Mojo relocated to Memphis, Tennessee at an early age, then landed in Chicago in 1952, and in 1962 he would find a home in Minneapolis. He had numerous periods of employment in the Muddy Waters Band spanning 4 decades; first in 1959, again in 1967, again in the early 1970s, and was part of Muddy's final band lineup of 1980. Mojo Buford was a sensitive ensemble harmonica player and could provide a gorgeous textural backing for any Chicago blues song. Mojo was also a master of the more difficult Chromatic harmonica. He would record many fine sides as both a leader and as a frontman. His own albums appear on Mr Blues, JSP, P-Vine, Blue Moon, Blue Loon, Fedora, Rooster, Blues Record Society and other labels. Mojo and Luther "Georgia Boy" Johnson were also featured vocalists for two albums on the Muse label that showcased the Muddy Waters Band of the 1960s. There was also a notorious LP on the Vernon label titled Ray CharlesOn Stage At The Palladium, which actually only had 2 Ray Charles songs with the remainder by "Mo Jo & The Mo Jo Chi Fours." Collectors marvel over this false advertising - and the Mojo sides are just great! In addition to appearing on numerous sides by Muddy Waters, Mojo's harp graced recordings by Jo Jo Williams, Otis Spann, and Texas Red. Mojo was also responsible for helping Bob Margolin land his job in the Muddy Waters Band. Special thanks to drummer/manager Doug McMinn, who's efforts in the later part of Mojo's career kept him working and in the public eye. Mojo's passing, along with the recent deaths of fellow Muddy Waters alumni Pinetop Perkins, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, and Calvin Jones, leaves us with a huge void in our hearts as we remember the sound of that glorious band. Mojo was a sweet and generous individual with a beautiful toothy grin and a kind word for every situation. He will forever be remembered in blues history as one of the great harmonica masters of the Muddy Waters Band. To hear Mojo performing "Don't Go No Further" click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ah9rK0354wk. To hear Mojo's great harmonica backing on Jo Jo Williams "All Pretty Woman" click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaLCrsvMWMs  To see a photo of Mojo. Pinetop Perkins and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith at last year's King Biscuit Blues Festival, courtesy of Bob Margolin, click here http://www.bobcorritore.com/images/Willie Smith 02.jpeg. God bless you George "Mojo" Buford.

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