Lowell Fulson (March 31, 1921 – March 7, 1999) was an American blues guitarist and songwriter, in the West Coast blues tradition. He also recorded for contractual reasons as Lowell Fullsom and Lowell Fulsom. After T-Bone Walker, he was the most important figure in West Coast blues in the 1940s and 1950s.
|Born||March 31, 1921|
Atoka, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Died||March 7, 1999 (aged 77)|
Long Beach, California
Fulson was born on a Choctaw reservation in Atoka, Oklahoma to Mamie and Martin Fulson. He stated that he was of Cherokee ancestry through his father but also claimed Choctaw ancestry. His father was killed when Lowell was a child, and a few years later he moved with his mother and brothers to live in Clarita and attended school at Coalgate.
At the age of eighteen, he moved to Ada, Oklahoma, and joined Alger "Texas" Alexander for a few months in 1940, but later moved to California, where he formed a band which soon included a young Ray Charles and the tenor saxophone player Stanley Turrentine. Fulson was drafted in 1943 and served in the U.S. Navy until 1945.
Fulson recorded for Swing Time Records in the 1940s, Chess Records (on the Checker label) in the 1950s, Kent Records in the 1960s, and Rounder Records (Bullseye) in the 1970s. He wrote "3 O'Clock Blues" (B.B. King's first hit), "Reconsider Baby" (a blues standard), and "Tramp" (co-written with Jimmy McCracklin and recorded by several artists). His 1965 song "Black Nights" was his first hit in a decade, and "Tramp" did even better, restoring him to R&B stardom.
A show entitled California Blues: Swingtime Tribute opened in 1993 at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, California, with Fulson, Johnny Otis, Charles Brown, Jay McShann, Jimmy Witherspoon, Jimmy McCracklin and Earl Brown. Fulson's last recording was a duet of "Every Day I Have the Blues" with Jimmy Rogers on the latter's 1999 Atlantic Records release, The Jimmy Rogers All-Stars: Blues, Blues, Blues.
A resident of Los Angeles, Fulson died in Long Beach, California, on March 7, 1999, at the age of 77. His companion, Tina Mayfield, stated that the causes of death were complications from kidney disease, diabetes, and congestive heart failure. He was the father of four and grandfather of thirteen. Fulson was interred in Inglewood Park Cemetery, in Inglewood, California.
Awards and recognitionEdit
- 1993: Induction into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame
- 1993: Blues Foundation Hall of Fame, Classics of Blues Recording – Singles or Album Tracks, for "Reconsider Baby"
- 1993: Blues Foundation Blues Music Award, Traditional Album of the Year, for Hold On
- 1993: Rhythm and Blues Foundation, Pioneer Award
- 1995: Grammy Awards, nomination as Best Traditional Blues Album of the Year, for Them Update Blues
- 1995: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, "Reconsider Baby" included in the "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll"
- 2010: Blues Foundation Hall of Fame, Classics of Blues Recording – Albums, for Hung Down Head
|1948||"Three O'Clock Blues"||Down Town||6|
|1949||"Come Back Baby"||Downbeat||13|
|1950||"Everyday I Have the Blues"||Swing Time||3|
|"Lonesome Christmas (I & II)"||7|
|"Low Society Blues"||8|
|1951||"I'm a Night Owl (I & II)"||10|
|"Make a Little Love"||20|
|"I'm a Drifter"||38|
|1976||"Do You Love Me"||Granite||78|
|1959||Back Home Blues||Night Train|
|In a Heavy Bag||Jewel|
|1970||Hung Down Head||Chess|
|1971||Let's Go Get Stoned||Kent|
|1973||I've Got the Blues||Jewel|
|1975||Lowell Fulson (Early Recordings)||Arhoolie|
|Ol' Blues Singer||Granite|
|1984||Everyday I Have the Blues||Night Train|
|One More Blues||Black & Blue|
|1988||San Francisco Blues||Black Lion|
|It's a Good Day||Rounder|
|1992||Hold On||Bullseye Blues|
|1995||Sinner's Prayer||Night Train|
|Them Update Blues||Bullseye Blues|
|1996||Mean Old Lonesome Blues||Night Train|
|1997||The Complete Chess Masters (50th Anniversary Collection)||Chess|
|2001||I've Got the Blues (... and Then Some) (complete Jewel recordings)||Westside UK|
|2002||The Complete Kent Recordings 1964–1968||P-Vine|
|2004||1946–1953, Vols. 1–4 (complete Big Town, Downbeat/Swing Time recordings)||JSP|
With John Lee Hooker
- "Lowell Fulson | Biography & History". AllMusic.
- Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books. pp. 112–13. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.
- "Lowell Fulson obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
- Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues: A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara, California: Praeger. p. 60. ISBN 978-0313344237.
- Elwood, Philip (October 27, 1995). "Witherspoon still serving up the blues". Sfgate.com.
- Rosen, Jody (June 25, 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
- Whitburn, Joel (1988). "Lowell Fulson". Top R&B Singles 1942–1988. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research. p. 141. ISBN 0-89820-068-7.
- "Lowell Fulson – Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved May 2, 2010.