Tuesday Night Music Byte
Lynnrockets recently watched the film Julie & Julia about a thirty year old New Yorker who decided to cook every dish in one of Julia Childs’ cookbooks and to blog about it. It was a novel idea so we decided to copy it. No, we will not be cooking in the usual sense (that could start a fire). Rather, we will adapt the recipe a day concept to our nightly music bytes. From now to infinity (didn’t somebody else coin that phrase?) we will post a music video and brief description of the artist or song in a sort of alphabetical order as culled from Tom Moon’s wonderful reference book, 1,000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die (A Listener’s Life List). The book describes both whole albums (remember those) and individual songs from all music genres that are essential listening. Do yourselves a favor and purchase this book. Where the book deals with an individual song, we will post that song, but when an entire album is the subject, we will exercise judicial discretion and post a single song therefrom. So what do you say, let’s get cooking…
Snooks Eaglin – “Rock Island Line” (1959)
Snooks Eaglin, born Fird Eaglin, Jr. (January 21, 1936 – February 18, 2009), was a guitarist and singer in New Orleans. He was also referred to as Blind Snooks Eaglin in his early years. Eaglin lost his sight not long after his first birthday after being stricken with glaucoma, and spent several years in the hospital with other ailments. Around the age of five Eaglin received a guitar from his father; he 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.
His vocal style is reminiscent of Ray Charles; indeed, in the 1950s, when he was in his late teens, he would sometimes bill himself as “Little Ray Charles”. Generally regarded as a New Orleans R&B artist, he played a wide range of music: blues, rock and roll, jazz, country, and Latin. In his early years, he also played some straight-ahead 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 did not usually prepare set lists, and was unpredictable, even to his bandmates. He played songs that come to his head, 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 Fest in Spring of 2009.
The following is some amateur film footage of Snooks Eaglin’s New Orleans jazz funeral: