December 27, 1930 |
Hayti, Missouri, United States
|Occupation(s)||Guitarist, singer, songwriter|
Bob Stroger (born December 27, 1930) is an American electric blues bass guitarist, singer and songwriter. He has worked with many blues musicians including Eddie King, Otis Rush, Jimmy Rogers, Eddie Taylor, Eddy Clearwater, Sunnyland Slim, Louisiana Red, Buster Benton, Homesick James, Mississippi Heat, Snooky Pryor, Odie Payne, Fred Below, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, and Billy Davenport.
In 2011 and 2013, Stroger was granted a Blues Music Award as Best Blues Bassist.
Life and career
Stroger was born on a farm outside of Hayti, Missouri, United States, and in 1955 when aged 16, he relocated with his family to Chicago, Illinois. His family settled in an apartment on the West Side in an apartment in the back of Silvio's nightclub. Stroger was inspired by the sights and sounds emanating from the club. Subsequently he was further encouraged to try to have a career in music, after being casually employed driving his brother-in-law to play in a blues band alongside J. B. Hutto. Self-taught in the art of guitar playing, Stroger got together a family based band known as the Red Tops, named after wearing black berets with a red circle daubed on top. When Willie Kent was drafted to boost their proficiency, the combo was renamed Joe Russell and the Blues Hustlers. Stroger had adopted the stage name of Joe Russell, although this did not endure. He moved on to play jazz for a period with Rufus Forman, but it was his meeting with Eddie King which started his lengthy career playing blues. Having now adopted playing bass guitar, Stroger played on King's single "Love You Baby" (1965).
He backed King for fifteen years before King relocated, which caused Stroger to stop his playing for a couple of years. His interest was rekindled when he was recommended to Otis Rush, whom he backed in the late 1970s and 1980s. He toured Europe with Rush and played on a couple of his albums, Live in Europe and Lost in the Blues.
Stroger became a session musician for a while, and worked with Sunnyland Slim and Mississippi Heat during the late 1980s and early 1990s, before joining Odie Payne as the regular rhythm section for the series of American Blues Folk Festivals. Encouraged by Sunnyland Slim, Stroger began singing and writing his own material. In 1996, Stroger played on Mark Hummel's album, Heart of Chicago. In 1997, Stroger played bass on Golden "Big" Wheeler's album, Jump In. The following year, Stroger played with a group of musicians at the Lucerne Blues Festival in Switzerland. This led to the recording of his debut solo album, In the House: Live at Lucerne, Vol. 1, where he was accompanied by Ken Saydak and Billy Flynn.
In 2007, Stroger recorded Bob Is Back in Town in Chicago, backed by Steve Freund (guitar), Willie "Big Eyes" Smith (harmonica), Deitra Farr (backing vocals), and Juli Wood (baritone saxophone). The same year he backed Carey Bell on his final recorded work, Gettin Up: Live at Buddy Guy's Legends Rosa's (Delmark). He also played on Willie "Big Eyes" Smith's, Born in Arkansas (2008) and Joined at the Hip (with Pinetop Perkins) (2010).
In 2011, the Blues Foundation presented Stroger with a Blues Music Award in the Best Blues Bassist category. He was nominated in the same category in 2013. He took home the Best Bassist Award again in 2013.
|2002||In the House: Live at Lucerne, Vol. 1||Crosscut Records (Germany)|
|2007||Bob Is Back in Town||Airway Records|
|1983||Blues Meeting in Chicago||Strawberry Records|
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- "Sven Zetterberg, Sunnyland Slim, Tor Einar Jacobsen, Knut Reiersrud, Hungry John, Bob Stroger, Kristin Berglund, S.P. Leary, Zora Young - Bluesmeeting In Chicago (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 7 March 2013.