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Spotlight on Shar-Baby

Marion Walter Jacobs: legendary blues harmonica player a.k.a. "Little Walter", posthumously awarded 'Best Historic Album' grammy for "The Complete Chess Masters 1950-1967";

Rosie Brittain: singer-songwriter a.k.a. "Aunt Rosie", born in Missouri, raised in South Bend, Indiana, and lived in Chicago West Side for 48 years;

Sharon Newport: singer-songwriter a.k.a. "Shar-Baby", born and raised in South Bend, Indiana, and now living in Birmingham, Alabama;

Digitdoc Records: independent record label, born and raised in Bristol, UK, and now living for music.

Any connection or just the disparate ramblings of a would-be blogger with a page to fill? Well, read on and judge for yourself, gentle browser...

Chicago in the 50s and 60s - Howlin' Wolf, B.B.King, Magic Lee, Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, Ruth Brown, Little Walter to name but a few, could be seen and heard (often for free) at the many clubs and juke joints such as Silvio's, Mel's Hideaway, Vi's Lounge and Club Zanzibar.

Into this vibrant music scene stepped a young woman recently relocated from South Bend, Indiana, where she had toured the churches of the area in a quartet, the "Golden Star Harmonizers". And Rosie Brittain, for it was she, loved the blues.

These musicians were so accessible then - imagine having the opportunity now to walk up and chat with B.B. King (!) - and Rosie befriended many of them. And when she got a waitressing job at the Club Zanzibar where Little Walter played every week, she struck up a special relationship with him, even dating him for a time. All that she saw and heard inspired her to write her own songs too. Here's an image of her (front left) at Club Zanzibar along with other family members - this was her day off...
Shar-Baby history - zanzibar
At this point I would like to personally recommend watching "Cadillac Records". This recent film is based on the true story of Chess Records who signed many of these blues legends including Little Walter, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry and Etta James. It's worth it if only to hear Beyonce (as Etta James) singing "I would rather go blind"...

Rosie's niece, Sharon, was inspired by her aunt as well as by other members of her musical family. Dubbed "Shar-Baby" at 6 years of age, a name she subsequently adopted for the stage, Shar has carried on her aunt's work not only by singing Rosie's songs herself but also by penning many songs of her own. And it's all real jukin' Delta blues material - raw and foot-stompin' - the kind you'd find when travelling round the countryside of Alabama, in your Mercury Ford maybe.

Shar-Baby visited Europe for the very first time during Easter, 2009 when she was invited to play at the inaugural Coin Acoustic Blues Festival in Andalucia, Spain. This was also attended by Digitdoc Records as our very own Steve Payne was on the bill - so there we have the final connection. It wasn't long before addresses and CDs were exchanged together with the promise of meeting again soon.
Shar paid a brief visit to the UK in December 2009 to play a couple of gigs for Shake Down Blues in the Peterborough area, and we saw more of her in May 2010 when she came over to perform in various venues across the UK, mostly accompanied by Steve Payne. Please click HERE for details of that tour.

We are expecting to see her again soon to record a new album here in the UK using new material all penned by Steve Payne.
...well, have I convinced you that there's a connection? - it worked for me.

Please visit our artists pages for further information on Shar-Baby.

 

 

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