Friday, May 15, 2015

Riley B. King, 1925 - 2015



Lee Zimmerman wrote a nice New Times article here regarding Mr. King's connection to Miami.
In his nearly 70 years as a bluesman, King, who would have turned 90 in September, recorded more than 50 albums and continued to tour well into his 80s, often performing more than 250 concerts a year. However, especially early in his career, he had a particular attachment to Miami — and Overtown, in particular.

In the days of segregation in the ‘50s and ‘60s, Overtown was the center of the local black community and home to numerous theaters and nightclubs that offered the leading African-American entertainers of the era places to play when the glittery haunts of Miami Beach were mostly still off limits. He frequently performed at the Lyric Theater, a venue that dated from 1913, as well as the neighborhood’s nightclubs, like the Harlem Square.
“Places like Memphis were meant to record records, but Overtown was a place for musicians to jam,” local saxophonist Charles Austin once recalled. “It was like an oasis for musicians. Black, white, it didn’t matter.”
Another well-respected Miami artist who frequented Overtown, the masterful R&B guitarist and songwriter Little Beaver, remembered meeting the master musician one night at the Tiki Club in Coconut Grove. “We had B.B. King come there one night,” he told an interviewer. “We were the house band and B.B. was the star. “

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

watching/listening to that -- best 5 minutes of my day.

Anonymous said...

Agreed.