Elmore James

Elmore James

Blues Chicago Blues Delta Blues Classic Blues Jazz
Elmore James (Elmore Brooks, Richland, Mississippi, 27th January 1918 – Chicago, Illinois, 24th May 1963) was an American blues singer and guitarist. He was known as "The King of the Slide Guitar". James was born fifty miles north of Jackson (not to be confused with another Richland just south of Jackson). He began playing as a teen, under the names "Cleanhead" and "Joe Willie James", alongside musicians such as the first Sonny Boy Williamson, Howlin' Wolf, and Robert Johnson. During World War II James joined the United States Navy and was stationed in Guam. More Info »

Top Albums

  • The Complete Fire and Enjoy Sessions Part 1
    The Complete Fire and Enjoy Sessions Part 1
  • Dust My Broom
    Dust My Broom
  • The Sky Is Crying
    The Sky Is Crying
  • Person To Person
    Person To Person
  • Shake Your Money Maker: The Best Of The Fire Sessions
    Shake Your Money Maker: The Best Of The Fire Sessions
  • King of the Slide Guitar
    King of the Slide Guitar
  • Let's Cut It - The Very Best Of Elmore James
    Let's Cut It - The Very Best Of Elmore James
  • Got to Move
    Got to Move
  • Blues Masters: The Very Best of Elmore James
    Blues Masters: The Very Best of Elmore James
  • King of the Slide Guitar (Vol 2)
    King of the Slide Guitar (Vol 2)
  • Elmore James
    Elmore James
  • The Sky Is Crying - The History Of Elmore James
    The Sky Is Crying - The History Of Elmore James
  • Blues After Hours
    Blues After Hours
  • King of the Slide Guitar, Volume 1
    King of the Slide Guitar, Volume 1
  • The Best of the Modern Years
    The Best of the Modern Years
  • Elmore James His Greatest Hits
    Elmore James His Greatest Hits
  • At The Cross Roads
    At The Cross Roads
  • Rock My Baby Right
    Rock My Baby Right
  • King Of The Slide Guitar - Disc Three
    King Of The Slide Guitar - Disc Three
  • I Need You
    I Need You
  • Can't Stop Loving
    Can't Stop Loving
  • The Complete Fire and Enjoy Recordings
    The Complete Fire and Enjoy Recordings
  • Shake Your Moneymaker: The Best of the Fire Sessions
    Shake Your Moneymaker: The Best of the Fire Sessions
  • Dark And Dreary
    Dark And Dreary
  • Blues Duster
    Blues Duster
  • Elmore's Blues
    Elmore's Blues
  • The Best Of Elmore James
    The Best Of Elmore James
  • Come Go With Me
    Come Go With Me
  • Blues Kingpins
    Blues Kingpins
  • Shake Your Moneymaker
    Shake Your Moneymaker
  • The Blues of Elmore James
    The Blues of Elmore James
  • Best Of The Modern Years
    Best Of The Modern Years
  • Rollin' and Tumblin'
    Rollin' and Tumblin'
  • Standing At The Crossroads
    Standing At The Crossroads
  • Standing At The Cross Roads
    Standing At The Cross Roads
  • American Roots Music (Remastered)
    American Roots Music (Remastered)
  • Greatest Blues Licks
    Greatest Blues Licks
  • Classic Early Recordings: Canton Crusade (disc 1)
    Classic Early Recordings: Canton Crusade (disc 1)
  • 1951-1953
    1951-1953
  • Genius Blues
    Genius Blues
  • Strange Angels
    Strange Angels
  • Slide and Pick
    Slide and Pick
  • King Of The Slide Guitar - Disc Two
    King Of The Slide Guitar - Disc Two
  • Red Hot Blues
    Red Hot Blues
  • It Hurts Me Too - The Legendary Elmore James
    It Hurts Me Too - The Legendary Elmore James
  • Blues At Heart
    Blues At Heart
  • Rollin' & tumblin'
    Rollin' & tumblin'
  • Classic Early Recordings: Broomdusting in Chicago (disc 2)
    Classic Early Recordings: Broomdusting in Chicago (disc 2)

Elmore James. Artist Bio

Elmore James (Elmore Brooks, Richland, Mississippi, 27th January 1918 – Chicago, Illinois, 24th May 1963) was an American blues singer and guitarist. He was known as "The King of the Slide Guitar".

James was born fifty miles north of Jackson (not to be confused with another Richland just south of Jackson). He began playing as a teen, under the names "Cleanhead" and "Joe Willie James", alongside musicians such as the first Sonny Boy Williamson, Howlin' Wolf, and Robert Johnson. During World War II James joined the United States Navy and was stationed in Guam.

Upon his discharge James returned to central Mississippi and eventually settled in Canton. He began recording with Trumpet Records in nearby Jackson in January 1951, first as sideman to the second Sonny Boy Williamson and others, then debuting as a session leader in August with what became his signature song, "Dust My Broom". It was a surprise R&B hit in 1952 and turned James into a star. His "I Believe" was another hit a year later. During the 1950s he recorded for the Bihari Brothers' Flair and Modern labels, as well as for Chess Records. His backing musicians were known as the Broomdusters. In 1959 he began recording what are perhaps his best sides for Bobby Robinson's Fire Records label. These include "The Sky Is Crying" (credited to Elmo James and His Broomdusters), "Stranger Blues", "Look On Yonder Wall", "Done Somebody Wrong", and "Shake Your Moneymaker", all of which are among the most famous of blues recordings.

The slide guitar riff from "Dust My Broom" is one of the best-known openings in all of blues.
Elmore James died of his third heart attack in Chicago in 1963, already a major influence on guitarists such as The Rolling Stones' Brian Jones. His classic "Done Somebody Wrong" and "One Way Out" were often covered by The Allman Brothers Band, who cited James as a major influence. James was also covered by blues-rock band Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble many times in concert. The most famous of these covers is Vaughan's take on James's legendary recording, "The Sky Is Crying". James is mentioned in The Beatles' song "For You Blue". While John Lennon plays the slide guitar, James' trademark, George Harrison says "Go, Johnny, go ... Elmore James got nothin' on this, baby." Another famous guitarist who admired Elmore James was Jimi Hendrix. On a sleeve of the posthumously released Hendrix CD Blues, there is a photo of Hendrix wearing his famous military jacket and holding Elmore James's vinyl.

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