Monday, February 28, 2011

88-year-old blues legend Eddie Kirkland dies in wreck with bus in Florida

#JazzBluesFlorida #jazz #blues #Florida #Concerts #Festivals #Clubs

Eddie has gone to his resting place to meet his mother in the Gates of Heaven....


RIP Eddie Kirkland.

I had the privilege of being at 88 year old blues legend Eddie Kirkland's last performance at the Dunedin Brewery just hours before his tragic death when his car was hit by a bus in Citrus County Sunday morning. As Sarasota Slim, who had known Eddie for over 30 years and played with him Saturday night said, "He rocked. We had a blast playing his blues and he seemed very happy."   

Gary Anton of the Bradfordville Blues Club said, "Eddie was a blues legend, known as the Gypsy of the Blues. He lived for and died on the road. He was sharp, alert and had logged hundreds of thousands of miles driving across the US and Europe." 

Eddie was one of the original blues men and played with John Lee Hooker for 7 years. He was Otis Redding's band leader and toured with many greats such as Ben King, Little Richard, Little Johnnie Taylor and Ruth Brown.  He was always pushing the envelope, moving the music forward and bringing the blues to new areas. Eddie will be missed by many.

Michael Bryant of the Dunedin Brewery said. "After the show when I sat with him and asked where his favorite place to play was, he said, "any place there are nice people.""

I asked if he still liked touring around and he said, "I like it better than sitting around." Very inspirational coming from a man 88 yrs old. He was one of the best.........

Our thoughts are with his family.
Barry Higgins
Suncoast Blues Society

What heartbreaking news! I was just watching a YouTube of Eddie's, Slow
Drivin', I think it was. Two thirds of the way into it, he breaks a
string, but as always, the consummate blues man carries on, not a beat
skipped. He was a true gem, a legend. Left it all out on the floor every
time I saw him.

I've always imagined a kinship with those like the "Gypsy of the Blues",
admiring their grit and determination for taking their musical love on
the road, day after day, year after year. In my own little SUV, an
ornament dangles from the rearview mirror that says "Life is a Journey",
and I've even dubbed my ride "Gypsy". But, those like Kirkland truly are
gypsies, driven by heart and soul most of us will never know, much less
imagine. And, what's more, they do it to give it all away.

One quote of his I love says it all about the man:
"If one person appreciates what I'm doing it's just as good as a million.
A lot of places we've played, after I paid the band I didn't have a dime.
But it was a good show. I was happy. That's it for me. It's my life."

Peace to you, Eddie, on your last long, slow drive, obviously with tons
of good company. We'll miss you, but your memory will linger on with fans
like me forever. R.I.P. You have definitely earned it.

Bobbie Giordano
"Weep, weep...
Cry a river of tears for the Lord has called the road warrior home. 8:30 am, Feburary 27th 2011 in Tampa, Florida."

- Eddie Kirkland's homepage.
Please help us compile an updated historical record and biographical accounting of Eddie’s life and times. We want to preserve as much information as we can and use it to update Wikipedia, and create a memorial tribute to him and his family. If you have any video’s, photos, or stories about Eddie, we would truly appreciate it and your name will be mentioned, as part of the tribute. Any new kinds of information will be really helpful as Eddie has been around awhile, and has bits and pieces of his life scattered everywhere. Collecting this data will be critical to preserving his memory. Please subscribe to his artist page on Reverbnation, and email us if you have anything that is of interest for the family and fan’s of Eddie Kirkland:
Thanks in advance and we are grateful for your help.

From Bob Corritore (Email him to sign up for his excellent enews notices)

RIP Eddie Kirkland - August 16, 1923 to February 27, 2011. Guitarist/singer/harmonica player Eddie Kirkland died yesterday in a auto accident in Tampa, Florida. He was 87 years old. Eddie Kirkland was born in Jamaica, and raised in Alabama. After military service in World War II, he relocated to Detroit and started working with John Lee Hooker, with whom he made some spectacular classic recordings. His sympathetic stylistic interaction with Hooker created some of most richly textured down home blues recordings ever recorded. While still with Hooker, he recorded a few 1950s sides under his own name for Modern, RPM, Federal and later Fortune. His version of "Done Somebody Wrong" influenced Elmore James who would record his own arrangement of the song. During the '60s he recorded singles for Lupine and Stax before making his first album with the King Curtis band which was released on the True Sound label. He would go on to make records with Trix, JSP, Deluge, Blue Suit, Telarc, Evidence, Fantastic, and other labels, as well as making recorded guest appearances on releases by Johnny Rawls, the Wentus Blues Band (from Finland) and Foghat. Eddie had an amazing work ethic and would tour constantly. His shows were pure energy, and he always played with a beautiful down-home rough edge, even while playing more contemporary blues and soul songs. He wore a scarf over his head which became his trademark but it also covered a metal plate that was in his head from an old war wound. Eddie Kirkland symbolized the beauty of down home urban blues, and his many important contributions will live on through the ages. To read Eddie's Wikipedia bio, click here. To see Eddie Kirkland on YouTube performing "I Love You", click here. For a wonderful Eddie Kirkland discography, click here.
From our friend, Walter Potter, up in Tallahassee:
Eddie Kirkland passed away this morning after an auto accident north of
the Tampa area. He was 88. I can't say it any better than Gary Anton has
said "Eddie was a blues legend, known as the Gypsy of the Blues. He
lived for and died on the road. I saw him on Friday while he was on his
way to a show in the Tampa area. He was sharp, alert and had logged
hundreds of thousands of miles driving across the US and Europe. May he
rest in peace ... " Most of us on this list have seen Eddie several
times and many knew him personally. My condolences to all. Its a sad day.

CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. — An 88-year-old blues legend known as the "Gypsy of the Blues" was killed in Florida when his car turned into the path of a Greyhound bus.
Eddie Kirkland was travelling southeast on U.S. Highway 98 in Crystal River, north of Tampa, about 8:30 a.m. Sunday when he tried to make a U-turn in front of the bus, the Florida Highway Patrol said. The bus, which was travelling northwest, pushed Kirkland's Ford Taurus about 200 yards before the vehicles stopped.
Kirkland was flown to Tampa General Hospital, where he later died.
Thirteen passengers were on the bus, which was being driven by 67-year-old James Smith of Tallahassee, the Highway Patrol said. No one on the bus was injured.
The Highway Patrol continued to investigate the accident Monday.
According to his website, Kirkland, who lived in Macon, Ga., performed Saturday night at the Dunedin Brewery in Dunedin, the final stop in a four-city swing through Florida in February. His tour was to pick up April 8 in Pensacola.
Born in Jamaica, and raised in Alabama, Kirkland eventually moved to Indiana before he settled in Detroit. He polished his blues sound and toured for 7 1/2 years with John Lee Hooker. He moved to Georgia, became a bandleader for Otis Redding and performed with a variety of artists, including Little Richard, Ben King, Ruth Brown and Little Johnnie Taylor.

Posted by:
Jazz & Blues Florida
Bradfordville Blues Club

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