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Willie "Big Eyes" Smith

The longtime drummer with the Muddy Waters Band, bluesman Willie "Big Eyes" Smith was born in Helena, AK, on January 19, 1936; raised by his sharecropper grandparents, as a child his neighbors included the likes of Robert Nighthawk and Pinetop Perkins. At 17 he traveled to Chicago to visit his mother, and never returned home; instead Smith taught himself harmonica and drums, and with harpist Clifton James and guitarist Bobby Lee Burns formed a blues trio. Upon marrying his first wife in 1955, Smith agreed to retire from performing, but within a year he was backing Arthur "Big Boy" Spires; after a brief attempt at fronting his own band, he returned to his drum kit, joining Hudson Shower's Red Devil Trio. After a few lean years that forced him to go on welfare, Smith joined Waters in 1961 and remained with the blues giant until 1980, when he co-founded the Legendary Blues Band. His first solo recording, Bag Full of Blues, did not appear until 1995; Nothin' But the Blues Y'all followed four years later and Blues from the Heart was issued in fall 2000. Bluesin' It appeared in 2004 from Electro-Fi while the pleasant Way Back was released in 2006 by Hightone Records. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Comments

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I love this song! Caledonia!!! ! A good dancing song!
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We are talking real blues, the kind that gives me goosebumps up my spine, wow ,thank you , I have loved the blues ever since I first heard this incredible music in the early 60s
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hey hey hey
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wooh
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williamcaubl e
Really, he was born in Alaska?? AK is Alaska dude. AR is Arkansas. After 4 years of us pointing this out, it is still wrong. Hire some QA people PANDORA
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Dam that is the best of blues.
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oh yeah this guys good
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Saw him with Muddy Waters; he helped drive that band in the 70s. Lost track of him after Legendary Blues Band; didn't know he had solo work. Smooth as ever!
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Just good ole fashion blues
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billgoll
Good stuff! Didn't know there were any sharecropper s in Alaska. I wonder if he could see Russia from his front porch?
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MIkey's Hits just found another brother of REAL BLUES!!!!!!!
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tojeffthacke r
Still alive?
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justintealmo r g a n
As an Americana/Bl u e s singer songwriter from Clarendon, Arkansas(50 miles or so from Helena)...se e i n g this is cool. www.reverbna t i o n . c o m / j u s t i n t e a l m o r g a n
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justintealmo r g a n
love it
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20 YEARS WITH MUDDY WATERS!!
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wmmcclintock
Yeah Baby, Raised in Helena, AR
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sounds like off limits bar in louville
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hdarnell1954
may he rest in peace
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GREATEST BLUES DRUMMER PLAYING, GREATEST HARMONICA BLUES HARP PLAYING(ALON G WITH OTHER "GREATESTS" LIKE JAMES COTTON, CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE, AND BOB CORRITORE)
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bburnet
Yes, thank you for noticing that. I didn't think many blues artists came from Alaska.
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landarch

Hey bio writer, Arkansas is abbreviated AR not AK (Alaska).
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even though Willie fronts his band with incredible vocals and harmonica, he is THE GREATEST BLUES DRUMMER ALIVE AND ONE OF THE ABSOLUTE ORIGINAL BLUES ARTISTS IN HISTORY!!! WHAT A LIVING LEGEND AND AMERICAN TREASURE...t o catch him live is to live an HISTORICAL EVENT!!!
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yes.
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YES, YES, HOW CAN YOU KEEP A "GOOD BLUES MAN DOWN???" GOOD LUCK TO YOU MR W "BIG EYES" SMITH. MR. CLARK
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Nice
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GOOD " HARP " BLUES MAN . I ENJOY WHAT "BIG EYES" HAS TO :SING" ABOUT.
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He was born in Helena Arkansa (AR), not Alaska (AK).
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At 74 - he can still blow some harp...saw him w pinetop in San Antonio, Tx...Great Show !
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duck29
AK = Alaska and AZ = Arizona, sharecropper s would more likely be found in AR = Arkansas. Pinetop Perkins still plays the Helena (not Montana) Blues Festival.
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magruver
AWESOME BLUES,,,,,,, , , , , , ALL RIGHT,,
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dextercollin s 5 3 8 6
awesome. total blues

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