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The Mudcat Cafesj

Elmore James

Elmore Brooks was born January 27, 1918 in Richland, Holmes County, Mississippi, the illegitimate son of Leora Brooks. By the age of 10 he was playing a self made guitar and singing blues. Elmo’s playing became more frequent and within the next 10 years he would grace the stage, sidewalk, fish fry and jook with the likes of Robert Johnson & Sonny Boy Williamson II. His recording career began in 1951 for Lillian McMurry’s Trumpet Records. Over the next 12 years Elmore would record more than 100 songs for Modern, Chess, Chief, Fire, Fury, and Enjoy Records. Considered by many to be the King of the Slide Guitar, Elmore James helped shape the rural sounds of the Mississippi Delta Blues into a wrenching raw music that eventually bleed its course to Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Many classify Elmore James as a postwar musician. However, you should also recognize his performances from 1929 to 1952. Unfortunately, no one captured a sound recording of Elmore and his guitar within these 23 years. The way we hear Elmore James today is much more than that. Little Richard summed it up recently during one of his performances, "There was just a few people doing real rock back when I was first starting out. Little Richard and Elmore James are the only two I know."