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Koerner, Ray & Glover

In today's climate of a blues band seemingly on every corner with "the next Stevie Ray Vaughan" being touted every other minute, it's hard to imagine a time when being a white blues singer was considered kind of a novelty. But in those heady times of the early '60s and the folk and blues revival, that's exactly how it was. But into this milieu came three young men who knew it, understood it, and could play and sing it; their names were Koerner, Ray & Glover. They were folkies, to be sure, but the three of them did a lot -- both together and separately -- to bring the blues to a white audience and in many ways, set certain things in place that have become standards of the Caucasian presentation of the music over the years.

The three of them were college students attending the University of Minnesota, immediately drawn together by their common interests in the music and by the close-knit folk community that existed back then. As was their wont, they all decided to append their names with colorful nicknames; there was "Spider" John Koerner, the Jesse Fuller and Big Joe Williams of the group, Dave "Snaker" Ray, a 12-string-playing Lead Belly aficionado, and Tony "Little Sun" Glover on harmonica, holding up the Sonny Terry end of things. This simple little act of reinvention resonates up to the present day, with myriads of white practitioners throwing their mundane appellations out the window to recast themselves as something along the lines of Juke Joint Slim & the Boogie Blues Blasters.

They worked in various configurations within the trio unit, often doing solo turns and duets, but seldom all three of them together. Their breakthrough album, Blues, Rags and Hollers, released in 1963, sent out a clarion call that this music was just as accessible to white listeners -- and especially players -- as singing and strumming several choruses of "Aunt Rhody." While recording two excellent follow-ups for Elektra, both Koerner and Ray released equally fine solo albums. Tony Glover, for his part, put together one of the very first instructional books on how to play blues harmonica (Blues Harp) around this time, and its excellence and conciseness still make it the how-to book of choice for all aspiring harmonica players.

While Koerner, Ray and Glover each pursued individual careers, they continued to reunite for live shows. In 2002, Ray died from from lung cancer. He was 53 years old. In 2008, the trio was inducted into the Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame. ~ Cub Koda
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Return Of Koerner, Ray & Glover

1. I Want To See My Baby

2. Titanic

3. You've Got To Be Careful

4. Looky, Looky Yonder

5. Statesboro Blues

6. Eugene C.

7. Goin' To The Country

8. The Boys Was Shootin' It Out Last Night

9. Poor Howard

10. I Don't Want To Be Terrified

11. Don't Let Your Right Hand Know What Your Left Hand Do

12. Lonesome Road

13. England Blues

14. Packin' Trunk

15. John Hardy

x

Track List: (Lots More) Blues, Rags And Hollers

1. Black Dog

2. Whomp Bom

3. Black Betty

4. Honey Bee

5. Crazy Fool

7. Duncan And Brady

8. Fine Soft Land

9. Red Cross Store

10. Lady Day

11. Freeze To Me, Mama

12. Ted Mack Rag

13. Fannin Street

14. Love Bug

15. Can't Get My Rest At Night

16. What's The Matter With The Mill

x

Track List: Blues, Rags & Hollers

1. Linin'

2. Ramblin' Blues

3. It's All Right

4. Hangman

5. Ted Mack Rag

6. Down To Louisiana

7. Creepy John

8. Bugger Burns

9. Sun's Wail

10. Dust My Broom

11. One Kind Favor

12. Go Down Ol' Hannah

13. Good Time Charlie

14. Banjo Thing

15. Stop That Thing

16. Too Bad

17. Snaker's Here

18. Low Down Rounder

19. Jimmy Bell

20. Mumblin' Word

Comments

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I went to a Quaker boarding school from 65 to 69. We weren't allowed to listen to rock and roll but folk and blues were allowed. We listened to these guys a lot.
Report as inappropriate
so unknown. what a shame
Report as inappropriate
They certainly influenced many, and strongly "colour" my memories of the West Bank, in and around the U. of M., in the late 60's & early 70's; a time of "enthusiasm" ....
Report as inappropriate
as i close in on 60 years, these guys were my first heroes, totally honest, proficient at their craft, and sadly unknown
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direwolf666
Unfortunatel y , we lost Dave after a brave fight with cancer, Thanksgiving Day, 2002. Sadly missed by many friends and admirers. He gigged my venue around 7 times, and he'd stay at our house. Just a really kind person. RIP, buddy.
Jeff, Gun Flint Tavern, Grand Marais, MN

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