HEY LOCO FANS – Happy birthday to New Orleans legend Snooks Eaglin born Jan 21, 1937! This guitarist was singer was sometimes credited under other names, including Blind Snooks Eaglin, “Lil” Snook, Ford Eaglin, Blind Guitar Ferd. Snooks Eaglin jr…
Born Fird Eaglin Jr., his vocal style was reminiscent of that of Ray Charles; in the 1950s, when he was in his late teens, he sometimes billed himself as “Little Ray Charles”. He played a wide range of styles of music within the same concert, album, or even song: blues, rock and roll, jazz, country, and Latin. In his early years, he also played acoustic blues.
His ability to play a wide range of songs and make them his own earned him the nickname “The Human Jukebox.” Eaglin claimed in interviews that his musical repertoire included some 2,500 songs.
At live shows, he usually did not prepare set lists and was unpredictable, even to his bandmates. He played songs that came to him on stage, and he also took requests from the audience.
Eaglin died of a heart attack at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans on February 18, 2009. He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008 and had been hospitalized for treatment. He was scheduled to make a comeback appearance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in the spring of 2009. In honor of his contributions to New Orleans music, he was depicted in an artist’s rendering on the cover of the “Jazz Fest Bible” edition of Offbeat magazine, for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 2009.
Around the age of five he received a guitar from his father and taught himself to play by listening to and playing along with the radio. A mischievous youngster, he was given the nickname “Snooks” after a radio character named “Baby Snooks”.