King Biscuit Blues Festival

Last updated
King Biscuit Blues Festival
Genre Blues
Location(s) Helena, Arkansas, United States
Coordinates 34°31′25″N90°35′11″W / 34.5237°N 90.5865°W / 34.5237; -90.5865 Coordinates: 34°31′25″N90°35′11″W / 34.5237°N 90.5865°W / 34.5237; -90.5865
Years active1986-present
Website King Biscuit Blues Festival website

The King Biscuit Blues Festival is an annual, multi-day blues festival, held in Helena, Arkansas, United States. [1]

Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1870s by African Americans from roots in African musical traditions, African-American work songs, and spirituals. Blues incorporated spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts, chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads. The blues form, ubiquitous in jazz, rhythm and blues and rock and roll, is characterized by the call-and-response pattern, the blues scale and specific chord progressions, of which the twelve-bar blues is the most common. Blue notes, usually thirds, fifths or sevenths flattened in pitch are also an essential part of the sound. Blues shuffles or walking bass reinforce the trance-like rhythm and form a repetitive effect known as the groove.

Helena, Arkansas City in Arkansas, United States

Helena is the eastern portion of Helena-West Helena, Arkansas, a city in Phillips County, Arkansas. As of the 2000 census, this portion of the city population was 6,323. Helena was the county seat of Phillips County until January 1, 2006, when it merged its government and city limits with neighboring West Helena.

Contents

History

The name of the festival comes from King Biscuit Time , which was the longest running radio show. Sonny Boy Williamson II and other musicians played live on KFFA every weekday, pausing for King Biscuit flour commercials and announcements of their next night time performances. Jim O'Neal, the editor of Living Blues magazine at the time and an authority on blues history, said, "The King Biscuit hour was the thing that really crystallized blues music in this area. Muddy Waters and B.B. King would come home from working in the fields every day just to listen to the King Biscuit hour. The festival was temporarily renamed Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival from 2005 to 2010 due to problems arising out of rights of the name. [2]

King Biscuit Time is the longest-running daily American radio broadcast in history. The program is broadcast each weekday from KFFA in Helena, Arkansas, United States, and has won the George Foster Peabody Award for broadcasting excellence. In 2018, certain selections of King Biscuit Time from 1965 were selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or artistically significant."

Sonny Boy Williamson II American blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter

Alex or Aleck Miller, known later in his career as Sonny Boy Williamson, was an American blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter. He was an early and influential blues harp stylist who recorded successfully in the 1950s and 1960s. Miller used various names, including Rice Miller and Little Boy Blue, before calling himself Sonny Boy Williamson, which was also the name of a popular Chicago blues singer and harmonica player. To distinguish the two, Miller has been referred to as Sonny Boy Williamson II.

Living Blues: The Magazine of the African American Blues Tradition is a bi-monthly magazine focused on blues music, and America's oldest blues periodical. The magazine was founded as a quarterly in Chicago in 1970 by Jim O'Neal and Amy van Singel as editors, and five others as writers. Among them were Bruce Iglauer and Paul Garon. They sold the first copies at the 1970 Ann Arbor Blues Festival.

The festival was started in 1986 under the guidance of the "Main Street Helena" organization, which is part of the "Main Street, USA" program. Its purpose was to revitalize the downtown area of the Mississippi River port city. Lonnie Shields appeared at the inaugural festival. [3]

Mississippi River largest river system in North America

The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river of the second-largest drainage system on the North American continent, second only to the Hudson Bay drainage system. Its source is Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota and it flows generally south for 2,320 miles (3,730 km) to the Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains all or parts of 32 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains. The main stem is entirely within the United States; the total drainage basin is 1,151,000 sq mi (2,980,000 km2), of which only about one percent is in Canada. The Mississippi ranks as the fourth-longest and fifteenth-largest river by discharge in the world. The river either borders or passes through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

Lonnie Shields is an American electric blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist. His primary influence was B.B. King. He has released six albums to date, and one publication described his music as "bewitching, funk-influenced variations on the oldest country blues".

See also

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Lonnie Brooks American blues singer and guitarist

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References

  1. Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 219. ISBN   1-85868-255-X.
  2. Koon, David. "Fighting over a 'Biscuit' | Arkansas Reporter | Arkansas news, politics, opinion, restaurants, music, movies and art". Arktimes.com. Retrieved 2015-08-31.
  3. Richard Skelly (1956-04-17). "Lonnie Shields | Biography & History". AllMusic . Retrieved 2015-12-14.