March 27, 1937|
Haynesville, Louisiana, United States
|Died||July 3, 1997
Harlem, New York, United States
|Genres||Texas blues, electric blues|
|Labels||Various, including Duke and Verve|
Born in Haynesville, Louisiana, United States, while Copeland was becoming interested in music, he also pursued boxing, mostly as an avocation, and it is from his days as a boxer that he got his nickname "Clyde." Also as a teenager influenced by T-Bone Walker he formed the 'Dukes of Rhythm' in Houston, Texas, and made his recording debut in 1956, signing with Duke Records the following year. In his early years he played with such acts as Sonny Boy Williamson, Big Mama Thornton and Freddie King. Although his early records met with little commercial success, he became a popular touring act over the next two decades.
His early recording career embraced blues, soul and rock and roll. He cut singles for Mercury, All Boy and Golden Eagle, amongst others. His first single was "Rock 'n' Roll Lily", and he later cut regional successes such as "Please Let Me Know" and "Down On Bending Knees." For the most part, his singles featured Copeland as a vocalist more than a guitar player.
Driven by disco to rethink his future, he moved to New York in 1979, and played extensively in the eastern cities. In 1981, he was signed by Rounder Records, releasing albums including Copeland Special (1981) and Bringing It All Back Home (1985), and touring widely. Copeland appeared at the 1983 Long Beach Blues Festival, and the 1988 San Francisco Blues Festival. He won a Grammy in 1987 for best traditional blues album for the album Showdown!, recorded with Robert Cray and Albert Collins.
Copeland also played at the 1985 Montreux Jazz Festival, as a guest with Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble. Vaughan and Copeland performed the Bob Geddins song, "Tin Pan Alley" together on Vaughan's Blues At Sunrise compilation album. He also played on the first edition of BRBF (Blues Peer Festival) later that year.
His later years were dogged by ill health due to a congenital heart defect. He died, aged 60, in Harlem, New York, from complications during heart surgery for a heart transplanted six months earlier.
- 1981: Copeland Special (Rounder)
- 1984: Texas Twister (Rounder)
- 1985: Bringing It All Back Home (Rounder)
- 1990: Boom Boom (Rounder)
- 1991: When the Rain Starts Fallin' (Rounder)
- 1994: Catch Up With The Blues (Verve)
- 1995: Jungle Swing (Verve Records)
- 1996: Texas Party
- 1998: The Crazy Cajun Recordings (Edsel Records)
- 1999: Honky Tonkin'
- List of blues musicians
- List of electric blues musicians
- List of Texas blues musicians
- List of people from Teaneck, New Jersey
- Skelly, Richard. "Johnny Copeland - Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-08.
- "Rock 'n' Roll Lily: Johnny Copeland: MP3 Downloads". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-03-08.
- Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues - From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 182. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.
- "eFortress.com". Users.efortress.com. Retrieved 2013-03-08.
- "Johnny Copeland, 60, Who Sang Texas Blues and Played Guitar". New York Times. 1997-07-04. Retrieved 2013-03-08.