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Rex and Catharine stood before the church pastor in the parsonage where their simple wedding was performed. Catharine was nineteen years old.


The responsible new father now looked to the Pennsylvania Railroad as a more promising workplace. Several generations of men and women on both sides of their families found a trade in the shops, an industry that supported Altoona. Still young, restless and ambitious, he opened himself to a more expansive way of life. Rex learned of an opportunity to join a growing sales force.

The possibility of more suitable work lured him away him away from the reliable PRR and before long he moved his family to the small town of Lock Haven. Catharine left friends and relatives behind but welcomed the new beginning.

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She settled into the red brick three-bedroom rental house, just a block from the Susquehanna River, while Rex explored his new sales territory. Rex proved himself a born salesman. For years he promoted his line of cookies and crackers for the Colonial later Keebler Biscuit Company. Week after week he drove his faithful Ford hundreds of miles to out-of-the-way customers scattered about the Central Pennsylvania countryside. His affable nature and good humor, combined with the quality of his product, usually led to orders. Though he worked hard and made sales, his salary and commission never seemed to expand beyond the essentials for a growing family.

Eventually, four children completed the family. First there was Elaine then I, Beverly, twenty months later in Robert, the only son, joined his sisters in Seven years later, while living in Lock Haven, a beautiful baby girl was born. A bright red Packard Six fascinated him with its beauty and design. Ever since owning his first Model T Ford, he took an interest in the automobile industry. And the winning ticket goes to. Rex Shaffer! Rex became a celebrity in his hometown. Catharine could only hope that their financial tide might turn with the sale of this gift from God.

However, Rex, enamored of the shiny new vehicle, could not bear to part with it. He drove it with pride, happy to offer rides to customers and friends. He beamed behind the wheel on Sunday drives with the family. No, the Packard would not go; instead he sold the Ford. Entries in her childhood diary revealed her traits of self-discipline and dogged determination. Elaine maximized opportunities and surmounted limitations and obstacles. She emerged from this unlikely beginning to rise to unimaginable zeniths in the musical world.

Asked whether her talent could be traced in our family history, Elaine replied, Perhaps they did not have the opportunity. A modest response from a woman who made her own opportunity. The news of an unexpected child had been received by them as a gift—not as an inconvenience or foolish mistake. Our mother thought Elaine and I had found the wedding license many years before, but had kept that information to ourselves. She recalled the day we rummaged through old documents.

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You must have found the papers! Lock Haven and Williamsport, our hometowns, sat along the banks of the wide, flowing Susquehanna River, shadowed by the blue-gray Allegheny Mountains. My older sister, Elaine, seemed to find all she needed there to feed her soul, exercise her body and stimulate her curiosity. That simple diversion expanded our inner life and opened a world beyond our dreams.

Rugged, challenging sports and games appealed to Elaine. She joined the neighborhood boys in touch football, softball, horseshoes and marbles. Elaine loved a very special early-rising day to head off with Dad to a clear stream with her fishing rod. It became a life-long delight whenever she discovered lakes or streams in far-off places. Hours of ice skating on the frozen river or sledding on nearby hills were the best of fun during long cold winters. In early spring we ran with town folk to line the river bank to watch the ice jam break up; huge thick blocks of ice crashed together and edged their flow downstream.

Elaine and I were twenty months apart in age. Inseparable, we were never taken for twins, even with look-alike dresses and huge matching hair bows in complimentary colors. Our chestnut hair set off barber haircuts, tips of the ears showing. Physically, Elaine was robust, sturdy, full of health. An expressive countenance with two remarkable dimples pleased admiring adults. As her sister, I was considered fragile, even sickly, with a thin frame. A double bed during school years accommodated us both. King's recording contract was followed by tours across the United States, with performances in major theaters in cities such as Washington, D.

Louis, as well as numerous gigs in small clubs and juke joints of the southern United States. During one show in Twist, Arkansas , a brawl broke out between two men and caused a fire. He evacuated along with the rest of the crowd but went back to retrieve his guitar. He said he later found out that the two men were fighting over a woman named Lucille. He named the guitar Lucille , as a reminder not to fight over women or run into any more burning buildings. There, among other projects, he was a producer for artists such as Millard Lee and Levi Seabury. From the late s, new manager Sid Seidenberg pushed King into a different type of venue as blues-rock performers like Eric Clapton once a member of The Yardbirds , as well as Cream , and Paul Butterfield were popularizing an appreciation of blues music among white audiences.

From the s to his death in , he maintained a highly visible and active career, appearing on numerous television shows and sometimes performing nights a year. John , Koko Taylor and Bo Diddley. Discussing where he took the Blues, from "dirt floor, smoke in the air" joints to grand concert halls, King said the Blues belonged everywhere beautiful music belonged. He successfully worked both sides of the commercial divide, with sophisticated recordings and "raw, raucous" live performance.

In , King went on a "farewell" world tour, although he remained active afterward. In June , King was present at a memorial of his first radio broadcast at the Three Deuces Building in Greenwood, Mississippi , where an official marker of the Mississippi Blues Trail was erected. The same month, a groundbreaking was held for a new museum, dedicated to King, [46] in Indianola, Mississippi.

In late October , King recorded a concert album and video entitled B. King: Live at his B. King Blues Clubs in Nashville and Memphis. The video of the four-night production featured his regular B. King Blues Band and captured his show as he performed it nightly around the world. Released in , they documented his first live performances in over a decade. In the summer of , King played at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee , where he was given a key to the city.

King performed at the Mawazine festival in Rabat, Morocco , on May 27, Rolling Stone ranked King at No.

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On October 3, , after completing his live performance at the House of Blues in Chicago, a doctor diagnosed King with dehydration and exhaustion, and the eight remaining shows of his ongoing tour had to be cancelled. King didn't schedule any additional shows for the remainder of the year. King used equipment characteristic of the different periods he played in. He played guitars made by various manufacturers early in his career. In reference to the photo, B. King stated, "Yes; the old Fender amplifiers were the best that were ever made, in my opinion. I fell in love with it, because its sound is right between the old Fender amps that we used to have and the Fender Twin.

He later moved on from the larger Gibson hollow bodied instruments which were prone to feedback when played a high volumes to various semi-hollow models beginning first with the ES and then a deluxe version called the ES which employed a stereo option [69]. In , Gibson Guitar Corporation launched the B. King Lucille model, a ES with stereo options, a varitone selector and fine tuners neither of which were actually utilized by B.

In , Gibson made a special run of 80 Gibson Lucilles, referred to as the "80th Birthday Lucille", the first prototype of which was given as a birthday gift to King, and which he used thereafter. It was made by Norlin Industries for Gibson in the s and s. The L5 has an onboard compressor, parametric equalization, and four inputs. King also used a Fender Twin Reverb.

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King to Memphis to open the original B. Management is currently in the process of finding a new location in New York City. In , the children's show, Between The Lions , featured a singing character named "B. King, who was diabetic, appeared in several television commercials for OneTouch Ultra , a blood glucose monitoring device, in the s and early s.

The failure of both marriages has been attributed to the heavy demands made by King's performances a year. Several of them also went public with the allegation that King's business manager, LaVerne Toney, and his personal assistant, Myron Johnson, had fatally poisoned him. Autopsy results showed no evidence of poisoning. A defamation suit filed by Johnson against the accusing family members including his own sister, Karen Williams is pending. Other children have filed lawsuits targeting King's music estate, which remains in dispute.

King was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in As a result, he stopped flying around the age of King's favorite singer was Frank Sinatra. In his autobiography he spoke about how he was a "Sinatra nut" and how he went to bed every night listening to Sinatra's classic album In the Wee Small Hours. During the s Sinatra had arranged for King to play at the main clubs in Las Vegas.

He credited Sinatra for opening doors to black entertainers who were not given the chance to play in "white-dominated" venues. In September , King recorded Live in Cook County Jail , during a time in which issues of race [94] and class in the prison system were prominent in politics. King also co-founded the Foundation for the Advancement of Inmate Rehabilitation and Recreation, tying in his support for prisoners and interest in prison reform. In , King signed on as an official supporter of Little Kids Rock , a nonprofit organization that provides free musical instruments and instruction to children in underprivileged public schools throughout the United States.

He sat on the organization's Honorary Board of Directors. In the s to early s, King [88] was also involved in a diabetes awareness campaign with American Idol contestant, Crystal Bowersox , with One Touch Ultra, starring in commercials promoting diabetes health management. The remaining eight shows of his tour were cancelled because of health problems caused by complications from high blood pressure and diabetes.

On May 27, , King's body was flown to Memphis. A funeral procession went down Beale Street , with a brass band marching in front of the hearse, playing " When the Saints Go Marching In. His body was then driven down Route 61 to his hometown of Indianola, Mississippi. King Museum. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. American blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. King at the North Sea Jazz Festival. Blues rhythm and blues blues rock [1]. Singer guitarist songwriter record producer.

When I sing, I play in my mind; the minute I stop singing orally, I start to sing by playing Lucille. For more information about King's guitar, see Lucille guitar. Main article: B. King discography. Singin' the Blues [] The Blues B. King Mr.

  • A Port and a Push.
  • Chambers”s Twentieth Century Dictionary (part 1 of 4: A-D).
  • Angel in Black : A Musical Life in Letters, 1925-1973 by Beverly Shaffer Gast (2011, Paperback).

King in London L. Mississippi portal African American portal. Rutgers University Press.

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Encyclopedia of the Blues , Routledge, , p. Hal Leonard. Retrieved March 12, April 25, King Biography". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved May 15, King Dies at 89". Los Angeles Times. May 14, Encyclopedia of the Blues. Translated by Brigitte Debord 2nd ed. Fayetteville, Ark. Retrieved May 31, Retrieved February 17, King , University Press of Mississippi, , p. King the blues". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 2, Kostelanetz, Richard; Reiswig, Jesse eds. The B. King Reader: 6 Decades of Commentary 2nd ed.

Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard. King, Defining Bluesman for Generations, Dies at 89".

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