Oh Dem Blues Women

Margie Evans
We simply couldn't make this great shot fit in the magazine, so of course Online snapped it right up. Now we just need to get in touch with David and get some info about it.

Kelly Rucker
Ojai, California 1990
Bowl Full of Blues

"I had my doubts about Kelly blowing harp, but I was knlocked out. She was a powerhouse on vocals and harp. I guess good things can come in small packages."

Queen Ida
Tuscon, Arizona 1990
El Casino Ballroom

"The term Queen has been bestowed on any number of bluesy women, but when it comes to kick-butt zydeco, Queen Ida is in a class by herself. One of the few females who front and lead a zydeco band, she outplays and sings men and women half her age."

Ida McBeth
Kansas City, 1996
Kansas City Blues & Jazz Festival

"A Kansas City legend in a town full of legendary blues and jazz musicians, Ida personifies cool. But even her cool approach to the blues couldn't hold back the heat during a mid-afternoon set in 100-degree weather."

On this issue's cover,
Jessie Mae Hemphill

"Jessie lives alone with a pack of poodles (her babies, as she calls them). She's one of the more unique characters in the blues world. Always dressed to kill onstage, while backstage waiting to go on, I saw a simple country gal quick with a smile and a kind word."

"Blueswomen can do it all. They can sing and play with the same intensity as men. They write songs, front bands, drive vans, haul amps, deal with agents, club owners and record companies --- they do it all. And they can be so damned sexy. Sometimes raw and blatant like Candye Kane or Lynne White, or smoldering like Angela Strehli or Barbara Lynn. The women just seem to kick out more emotion. Maybe it's me, but I see more smiles and tears when the women take the stage."

David Howitz started taking photos of blues artists in 1971 at the Ash Grove in Los Angeles, and still covers 10 to 12 festivals a year plus club dates.

"I'm lucky in that I've gotten to know many of the musicians as friends. We have shared meals and swapped road stories. I travel the road much the same as the musicians, by car. Long hours of criss-crossing the country to the next gig."

This page © 1997 by Blues Access, Boulder, CO, USA.