HEY LOCO FANS – Happy Birthday to Louisiana blues and rhythm-and-blues guitarist Boogie Bill Webb born this day in 1924 in Jackson, Mississippi. His music combined Mississippi country blues with New Orleans R&B. His best-known recordings are “Bad Dog” and “Drinkin’ and Stinkin'”. Despite a lengthy (albeit intermittent) career, Webb released only one album.
His first guitar was a cigar box and strung with screen wire. With a real guitar obtained when he was a teenager, he won a talent show in 1947. He subsequently appeared briefly in the musical film The Jackson Jive. He moved to New Orleans in 1952.
In New Orleans Webb became friends with Fats Domino and through this connection received a recording contract with Imperial Records. In 1953 Webb released his debut single, “Bad Dog,” a noncommercial slice of country boogie-woogie. Frustrated by lack of recognition, Webb relocated to Chicago, where he worked in factories. There he met and played with Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed, and Chuck Berry.
Webb returned to New Orleans in 1959 to work as a stevedore, performing music infrequently. However, in 1968 he recorded several songs for the folklorist David Evans, which eventually appeared on Arhoolie Records.
Exposure at home and in Europe led to visits to Webb from blues fans and invitations to tour. In 1982 he appeared at the Utrecht Festival, in the Netherlands. In 1989, with financial assistance from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, he released the album Drinkin’ and Stinkin’. An encounter with three women who had been out drinking for three days without bathing inspired the lyrics of the title track.
Webb died in New Orleans in August 1990, at the age of 66.
Boogie Bill Webb – “Bad Dog”