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Bonnie Lee

Bonnie Lee was a longtime fixture of Chicago’s modern blues scene in addition to among the last surviving links to its postwar heyday. Created Jessie Lee Frealls on June 11, 1931, in Bunkie, LA, Lee was raised in Beaumont, TX, where she researched piano and sang in her church’s choir. Gospel vocalist Lillian Ginn was sufficiently impressed to increase an invitation to become listed on her on tour, but Lee’s mom refused to give her authorization. As a teenager Lee however toured the South as an associate from the Famous Georgia Minstrels, befriending blues legends Clarence “Gatemouth” Dark brown and Big Mama Thornton on the way. She relocated to Chicago in 1958, hitching a trip having a delivery vehicle drivers and settling in the Western Part apartment of the aunt. After toiling in anonymity like a vocalist and dancer, in 1960 Lee authorized to J. Mayo Williams’ Ebony label to cut her debut solitary, “Sad and Bad Woman,” acknowledged at Williams’ insistence to Bonnie “Bombshell” Street, a moniker she apparently despised. The solitary fared badly, and Lee continuing touring the Chicago jazz and blues golf club circuit, creating a powerful tone of voice as earthy since it was electrifying. Family members obligations pressured her to retire from music through the middle of the 10 years, however in 1967 she resurfaced alongside the renowned pianist Sunnyland Slim, a longtime confederate of Muddy Waters. Lee frequently opened for Slender within the years that implemented, becoming a star over the North Aspect blues circuit via residencies at night clubs including Smart Fools, B.L.U.E.S., and Blue Chicago. In the past due ’70s, she also trim a small number of singles for Slim’s very own Airway label. Lee also appreciated a decade-long cooperation with renowned bassist Willie Kent, where time she documented the 1995 Delmark LP Sweetheart from the Blues along with the 1998 Wolf Information set I’m Great. Furthermore, she added to myriad compilations, especially Females of Blue Chicago and Chicago’s Finest Blues Females. Health problems even so plagued Lee through the entire latter 1 / 2 of her lifestyle, and she passed away Sept 7, 2006, at age 75.

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