Linsey Alexander

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Linsey Alexander
Linsey Alexander at the Legends.JPG
Alexander in 2012 performance
Background information
Birth name Linsey Alexander
Also known as Hoochie Man
Born (1942-07-23) July 23, 1942 (age 71)
Holly Springs, Mississippi, United States
Genres Chicago blues, electric blues
Occupations Musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Years active 1960–present
Labels Delmark, Linsey Alexander, the L.A.B.B.
Associated acts Eddie Clearwater[1]
Website http://www.linseyalexander.com/index.htm
Notable instruments
Fender guitar, Gibson guitar

Linsey Alexander (born July 23, 1942) is a blues songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist. Alexander has been a fixture in Chicago North Side clubs for nearly two decades and has played with blues notables including Buddy Guy, A.C. Reed, Magic Slim, and B.B. King. His 2012 CD, Been There Done That, was rated the best blues CD of the year.

Life and career[edit]

Alexander was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi, an area that is part of the Mississippi Blues Trail.[2] His family, was "poor but honest and hardworking"[3] sharecroppers.[4] He moved to Memphis, Tennessee with his mother and a sister when he was 12 years old.[2]

Alexander's interest in music started when a family friend he knew as "Otis" taught him enough so that when Otis left his guitar as a gift at Alexander's home, he was able pick it up and start playing. As a teenager, Alexander concentrated on singing and later developed his guitar playing. His early influences were blues, country, and rock and roll, including blue keyboardist Rosco Gordon and rockers Chuck Berry, and Elvis.[5]

While still in Mississippi, Alexander worked as a porter in a hotel laundry room and later as a bicycle technician.[4] In 1959, Alexander pawned his first guitar to help pay his way to Chicago[3] by Greyhound bus to follow a girl he met in Memphis. In Chicago, Alexander had a series of jobs that included working for a car dealer, at a gas station, and as a cook and bus boy. Alexander received a pension after he was wounded while working for the Chicago Police Department.[4]

Alexander was pulled into the Chicago South Side music scene where he heard soul artists like McKinley Mitchell and Bobby Day and bluesman Howlin' Wolf. While his first guitar was never recovered from the pawn shop,[3] he bought another guitar and formed a band called the Hot Tomatoes that was "good enough to enter a talent show at the well-known nightclub on 63rd Street called The Place." [5] Alexander went on to form another band called the Equitable Band that played at the Launching Pad at 75th Street and Stony Island for about 8 years.[2] When Alexander was playing at Red's, a Chicago club on 35th street and Archer, he was approached by an agent who introduced him to the B.L.U.E.S and the Kingston Mines, popular North Side clubs. His entry into "Blue Chicago" (downtown) exposed him to tourists to whom he started selling a series of independently recorded CDs that are still selling well.[5] Alexander has been a fixture in Chicago North Side clubs for nearly two decades and has played with blues notables including Buddy Guy, A.C. Reed, Magic Slim, and B.B. King.[6] His audiences have ranged from New York, Canada, Europe,[7] and the Mississippi Blues Festival.[8]

Chicago blues historian Hanson reported in 2007:

Veteran guitarist Linsey Alexander, the "Hoochie Man", plays classic Chicago blues spiced up with the occasional joke or double entendre. Watch him take his guitar for a crowd walk-through, where he'll stop often to flirt with the pretty women ... These days Alexander is one of the hardest-working bluesmen in the city, appearing as many as six nights a week at Chicago clubs.[9]

Although one critic described Alexander's music and live show as "loud, raw, rocked out and raucous",[10] another critic called Alexander a "character" and wrote that his live show is "not to be missed."[11]

Music[edit]

Music critic Jim White calls Alexander a "still-present, real-deal bluesman" with "deep, rich, gritty vocals" and "guitar work as strong as his vocals."[12] Alexander plays his own style of electric blues influenced by soul, R&B, and funk.[5][13] The original material he writes contributes to the survival of the blues genre. His sense of humor shown in his music and his act sets him apart from most other blues players.[13] He is known for playing his guitar "with the energy of a 20 year old." [14] Reviewer Greg Szalony critiqued that "at times [Alexander's] vocal approach is more akin to talking than singing" and compared his "distorted guitar tones" and vocals as "uncannily close to the late Son Seals."[15]

Music critic David Whiteis praised Alexander's guitar style for his "lively improvisational imagination" and "good taste" and said Alexander was especially gifted as a songwriter "in command of a lyric vividness." Whiteis described Alexander's song "Saving Robert Johnson" as "a full-scale theatrical vignette set to music ... [that] take[s] on the Crossroads myth."[16] Reviewer Greg Szalony reported that Alexander brings the myth into the future with the lyrics "I want you to e-mail the devil, I want you to poke him on Facebook."[15] Alexander's song "Saving Robert Johnson" was included in the Mississippi Blues Project, an extensive review of Mississippi blues produced by WXPN in Philadelphia.[17]

The Linsey Alexander Blues Band includes Alexander as vocalist and guitarist, Breezy Rodio on guitar,[13] and Ronald Simmons on bass.[14]

Awards[edit]

A1 Blues Podcast called Alexander's first international release, Been There Done That, "pure blues of the finest quality" and named it "Blues CD of the Year".[18]

Big City Blues awarded Alexander with a "Best Fan Interaction" honor in 2012.[19]

On June 8, 2014, Alexander was inducted into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame at Buddy Guy's Legends.[20]

Discography[edit]

  • Someone's Cookin' in My Kitchen (2004) - Linsey Alexander, the L.A.B.B.[21]
  • My Days Are So Long (2006) - Hoochie Man[21]
  • If You Ain't Got It (2010) - Hoochie Man Music[22]
  • Been There Done Than That (2012) - Delmark Records[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Eddy Clearwater and Linsey Alexander @ Kingston Mines". Wassup! Chicago: Local Magazine. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "Linsey Alexander: Live at B.L.U.E.S. October 2011". Chicago Blues Network. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "Linsey Alexander Biography". Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Stephenson, Mike. "Linsey Alexander Interview". Rhthym & Blues. Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d Whiteis, David (2012). "Linsey Alexander: linear notes from his new cd Been There Done That". Rhythm & News. 2012 Festival Issue (729): 9. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Linsey Alexander: Been There Done That". Chicago Blues Guide. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "Linsey Alexander - Someone's Cookin' In My Kitchen (2004)". IsraBox. 
  8. ^ MacFarland, Karen. "Blues fest set to wail July 1-3 in Davenport". Quad-Cities Online. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  9. ^ Hanson, Karen (2007). Today's Chicago Blues. Chicago, IL: Lake Claremont Press. p. 118. ISBN 9781893121195. 
  10. ^ Mandeville, Liz. "Three Flavors of Chicago Blues: Big Ray, Linsey Alexander, Donny Nichilo". Chicago Blues Guide. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  11. ^ Ankur. "Linsey Alexander "The Hoochie Man": Live at The Harmony Bar". Madison Music Review LLC. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  12. ^ White, Jim. "Blues vet Linsey Alexander emerges from Chicago". Community Voices of Pittsburg Post-Gazette. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c Marcus, Richard. "Music Review:Linsey Alexander - Been There Done That". Hearst Newspapers. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  14. ^ a b Malhotra, Ankur. "Linsey Alexander - Chicago Blue Tuesdays". Madison Music Review LLC. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  15. ^ a b Szalony, Greg. "Linsey Alexander - Been There Done That". Blues Blast Magazine. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  16. ^ Whiteis, David. "CD Reviews October 2012 - Linsey Alexander". Living Blues. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  17. ^ Meister, Jonny. "The Mix: The Mississippi Blues Project". NPR Music. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  18. ^ "Blues CD of the Year - Linsey Alexander - ' Been There Done That'". AB1 Blues Podcast - Blues Music and Interviews. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  19. ^ "2012 Happy to Have the Blues Awards". Big City Rhythm & Blues. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  20. ^ "Chicago Blues Hall of Fall 2014 Inductees". BluesHallofFame.org. Chicago Blues of Hall Fame. 2014. Retrieved May 23, 2014. 
  21. ^ a b c "Linsey Alexander". Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  22. ^ "Linsey Alexander Discography". AirPlay Direct. Retrieved 28 January 2013.