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Cephas & Wiggins

The duo of acoustic guitarist John Cephas and harpist Phil Wiggins enjoyed a partnership spanning several decades, during which time they emerged among contemporary music's most visible exponents of the Piedmont blues tradition. Both were born in Washington, D.C., although Wiggins was a quarter century younger than his partner; they met at a jam session in 1977, and both performed as regular members of Wilbert "Big Chief" Ellis' Barrelhouse Rockers for a time prior to Ellis' death. Their music, rooted in the rural African-American dance music of Virginia and North Carolina, showed the influence of Blind Boy Fuller, Gary Davis, and Sonny Terry, with a broad repertoire consisting of Piedmont blues standards as well as an eclectic sampling of Delta stylings, R&B, ballads, ragtime, gospel, and country & western; onward from their 1984 debut, Sweet Bitter Blues, Cephas & Wiggins' sound applied sophisticated traditional instrumentation and modern gospel-edged vocals to both traditional standards and their own hard-hitting compositions, offering a soulful acoustic option to electric blues. A popular festival act, they also issued LPs including 1986's W.C. Handy Award-winning Dog Days of August, 1988's Walking Blues, 1992's Flip, Flop and Fly, and 1996's Cool Down. They kept going strong and in 1999 released their ninth album, Homemade, on the legendary Alligator label. In 2000, Bullseye Blues issued From Richmond to Atlanta, a compilation of tracks from Cephas & Wiggins' three Flying Fish albums recorded between 1984 and 1992. The duo continued to tour and play festivals, helping to keep the Piedmont sound alive. In the summer of 2002, they released Somebody Told the Truth, a mixture of old and new tracks that reintroduced them to the next generation of blues fans. Shoulder to Shoulder appeared in 2006 from Alligator Records. Richmond Blues followed in 2008 from Smithsonian Folkways. ~ Barry Lee Pearson & Richard Skelly
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Shoulder To Shoulder

1. Ain't Seen My Baby

2. I Did Do Right

3. Catfish Blues

4. Susie Q

5. All I've Got Is Them Blues

6. Dirt Road

7. Broke And Hungry

8. Three Ball Blues

9. Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?

10. I Won't Be Down

11. Seattle Rainy Day Blues

12. The Blues Three Ways

x

Track List: Somebody Told The Truth

1. Stack And The Devil

2. Railroad Bill

3. Last Fair Deal Gone Down

4. Sick Bed Blues

5. The Pimp In The Pink Suit

6. Burn Your Bridges

7. Darling Cora

8. Forgiveness

9. Bowling Green Strut

10. Darkness On The Delta

11. Reno Factory

12. Somebody Told The Truth On Me

13. Something Smells

x

Track List: Homemade

1. Mamie

2. Meeting The Mule

3. Spider Woman

4. Trouble In Mind

5. Jelly Roll

6. Walking Mama

7. A Lot Of Them Blues

8. Illinois Blues

9. I Was Determined

10. Sounds Of The Blues

11. Worried Life Blues

12. Me And My Chauffeur

13. Slow Blues

14. Leaving Blues

15. Pigmeat

x

Track List: Cool Down

1. Action Man

2. Man Without A Future

3. Screaming And Crying

4. No Ice In My Bourbon

5. The Blues Will Do Your Heart Good

6. Caroline In The Morning

7. Backwater Blues

8. Going To The River

9. Cool Down

10. Special Rider

11. Hard Liquor

12. Nine Pound Hammer

13. Right Of Way Blues

14. Twelve Gates To The City

x

Track List: Richmond Blues

1. Richmond Blues

2. Going To The River

3. Keep Your Hands Off My Baby

4. Black Rat Swing

5. Mamie

6. Crow Jane

7. Dog Days Of August

8. John Henry

9. Pigmeat Crave

10. Prison Bound Blues

11. Key To The Highway

12. Going Down The Road Feeling Bad

13. Careless Love

14. Great Change

15. Reno Factor

16. Step It Up And Go

Comments

Report as inappropriate
I simply love the way the two of these fellas play!!!!!
Report as inappropriate
nice blues
Report as inappropriate
wooh
Report as inappropriate
ikr
Report as inappropriate
darcie29tudo r
Doesn't get much better than this!
So glad I found them
Report as inappropriate
I agree, also fortunate to have seen them.Phil inspired me to play harmonica.
Report as inappropriate
harpcharlie
Not only far and away the best acoustic blues duo, they have defined the "East Coast" blues sound like no others. John and Phil also exemplified the meaning of gentleman. John is sadly missed.

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