K. C. Douglas

Last updated
K. C. Douglas
Born(1913-11-21)November 21, 1913
Sharon, Mississippi, United States
DiedOctober 18, 1975(1975-10-18) (aged 61)
Berkeley, California, United States
Genres Blues
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active19401975
Associated acts Sidney Maiden

K. C. Douglas (November 21, 1913 — October 18, 1975 [1] ) was an American rural blues singer and guitarist. His given names were initials only. [2]

Contents

Career

Born in Sharon, Mississippi, Douglas moved to Vallejo, California in 1945 to work in the naval shipyards, and by 1947 was playing on the San Francisco/Oakland blues scene. Douglas was influenced by Tommy Johnson, [1] who he had worked with in the Jackson, Mississippi area in the early 1940s, [2] and whose "Canned Heat Blues" he adapted on his albums, A Dead Beat Guitar and the Mississippi Blues and Big Road Blues.

The K. C. Douglas Trio's first recording was "Mercury Boogie" (later renamed "Mercury Blues"), in 1948. [3] The other credited musicians were Sidney Maiden (harmonica), Ford Chaney (second guitar), and Otis Cherry (drums). [4] The song has been covered by Steve Miller, David Lindley, Ry Cooder and Dwight Yoakam, and a 1992 version by Alan Jackson was a number two hit on the US country chart. [1] Meat Loaf also covered the song as a bonus hidden track that appears on his 2003 album Couldn't Have Said It Better . [5] The Ford Motor Company purchased rights to the song and used it in a TV commercial. [1]

In the early 1960s Douglas recorded for Chris Strachwitz, mostly released on Strachwitz's Arhoolie Records and the Prestige Bluesville label. In 1961, Douglas played guitar on Sidney Maiden's album, Trouble An' Blues, thus reuniting a partnership that had started in the 1940s. [6]

Douglas played at the San Francisco Blues Festival in 1973 and 1974. He formed a quartet that performed in the East Bay/Modesto/Stockton area. [1]

Douglas died of a heart attack in Berkeley, California in October 1975, and was buried in the Pleasant Green Cemetery in Sharon, Mississippi. [1]

Influence

While in his thirties and working at a garage, Douglas taught blues guitar to Steve Wold, now performing as Seasick Steve, the grandson of his employer. [7] [8]

Selected discography

Singles

YearTitleLabel
1948"Mercury Boogie"Down Town
1954"Lonely Blues"Rhythm

Note: the reverse of "Mercury Boogie" was by Sidney Maiden.

Albums

YearTitleLabel
1956A Dead Beat Guitar and the Mississippi Blues Cook/Smithsonian Folkways
1961 K. C.'s Blues Bluesville
1961 Big Road Blues Arhoolie
1974 The Country Boy (reissued as Mercury Blues with additional recordings) Arhoolie
2006Classic African-American Ballads Smithsonian Folkways

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Craig Harris. "K. C. Douglas : Artist Biography". AllMusic . Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  2. 1 2 Harris, Sheldon (1989). Blues Who's Who (5th paperback ed.). New York: Da Capo Press. pp. 160–161. ASIN   B00071WNY8.
  3. Leadbitter, M; Slaven, N (1987). Blues Records 1943-1970: A Selective Discography Volume 1 A-K (2nd ed.). London: Record Information Services. p.  362. ISBN   978-0907872078.
  4. K. C. Douglas Discography, Wirz.de. Retrieved 21 February 2017
  5. "Couldn't Have Said It Better". AllMusic . Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  6. Al Campbell. "Sidney Maiden". Allmusic . Retrieved November 24, 2011.
  7. Interview with Seasick Steve on The Paul O'Grady Show on YouTube; October 2008
  8. Op de Beeck, Geert (2007-02-16), "Humo's Pop Poll de Luxe: goed gerief van Seasick Steve", HUMO NR 3467, p. 158