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Francis Clay

Drummer Francis Clay was a linchpin from the postwar Chicago blues and jazz picture, most notably using the Muddy Waters Music group during its past due-’50s heyday. Blessed November 16, 1923, in Rock and roll Isle, MS, Clay was the merchandise of the musical family members — his dad, a waiter, was a gifted multi-instrumentalist, and his uncle performed the drums skillfully. As a teenager Clay set up his very own homemade package and trained himself to try out, joining an area jazz music group at age group 15. Some orchestra stints implemented, and in 1941 he founded Francis Clay & His Syncopated Tempo, gigging in circuses and on riverboats to get headliners including burlesque superstar Gypsy Rose Lee. In 1947 Clay resolved in Chicago, in quick succession support George “Harmonica” Smith, trumpeter Ruler Kolax, and saxophonist Gene Ammons — for a while, he also managed his own reservation agency. He became a member of Waters in 1957: when the blues story discovered himself in unexpected need of the drummer hours in front of you Cleveland day, saxophonist Marcus Johnson suggested his friend Clay, and with out a opportunity to rehearse, the lifelong jazz drummer fumbled his method through the gig. “It had been a tragedy,” he later on recalled. “We stumbled through several songs…in fact, Muddy taught me how exactly to play the blues. He sat within the drums and achieved it himself, and it had been so basic — I assume that is why I couldn’t obtain it.” Within times Clay nevertheless perfected the Waters repertoire and continued to be using the group for another four years, a tenure highlighted from the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival day that yielded the traditional live LP Muddy Waters at Newport. Although Clay parted methods with Waters in 1961 to to remain with harpist Wayne Cotton, he came back to the collapse in 1965 and continued to be for another 2 yrs, an interval that coincided with efforts to now-classic Chicago blues classes including John Lee Hooker’s Live at Cafe Au Proceed Proceed and Otis Spann’s The Blues Is definitely Where It’s At. After once again exiting the Waters rates, Clay rejoined Natural cotton for any tour from the Western Coast — health issues nagged him, nevertheless, so that as the 10 years drew to a detailed he resolved in SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, where he performed on an extended group of LPs for the neighborhood root base music label Arhoolie, support artists which range from Tx blues icon Lightnin’ Hopkins to zydeco immortal Clifton Chenier. Clay’s commitments dwindled through the entire 1970s, and by the middle-’80s an arthritic leg successfully sidelined him once and for all. In 1995, the blues press reported that he previously fallen on crisis, as well as the Oakland jazz membership Yoshi’s hosted an all-star advantage concert in his honor. In the next years Clay still performed the casual live time and studio room gig, producing his final documented appearance on guitarist Roy Rogers’ 2002 work Slideways. He passed away January 23, 2008, at age 84.

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