Big Bill Morganfield
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Big Bill Morganfield
Morganfield performing at Burnley Blues Festival, April 2006. Photo: Phil Wight
|Birth name||William Morganfield|
|Born||19 June 1956|
Chicago, Illinois, United States
|Genres||Blues, R&B, soul|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, songwriter, teacher|
|Years active||1990 – present|
|Labels||Taxim, Blind Pig, Black Shuck|
Morganfield was born in Chicago, Illinois. He had little contact with his father. Instead he was raised in Southern Florida by his grandmother, and now lives in Atlanta, Georgia. As a child he listened to his father's records, but also to more popular fare such as The Jackson Five. He came to music later in life, having first worked as a teacher after earning a bachelor's degree in English from Tuskegee University and another in Communications from Auburn University. He did not begin playing music seriously until after his father's death in 1983, and then spent six years studying guitar. A well-received performance with Lonnie Mack at Atlanta's Center Stage convinced Morganfield that his career move was a good one, but dissatisfied with his craft, he returned to studying traditional blues forms and songwriting while continuing work as a teacher.
He got his first break in 1996 when he and his band ("The Stone Cold Blues Band" 1996-1998) played at the Blue Angel Cafe in Chattanooga Tn. The band consisted of professional Atlanta based musicians that helped launch his career. In 1998 He then began to play the east coast that led to bigger shows like "The Stan Rogers Folk Fest" and "Montreal Jazz fest" .
His first independent album,"Rising Son", was released in 1999 by Blind Pig Records. The album was recorded in Chicago, and featured Paul Oscher, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, and Pinetop Perkins. In 2000, he won the W.C. Handy Award for Best New Blues Artist. The title cut was featured in the 2004 film A Love Song for Bobby Long. (In 1997 Taxium Records released a demo-intended recording of Big Bill Morganfield called "Nineteen Years Old" without the consent of Big Bill Morganfield. American laws do not apply as this recording was taken to Germany for release.)
In 1999, Morganfield appeared at the San Francisco Blues Festival.
Ramblin' Mind, Morganfield's next album, included Taj Mahal on two songs, plus his song "Strong Man Holler". Billy Branch played harmonica on the album. In 2009, Morganfield released the album Born Lover, produced by Bob Margolin and Brian Bisesi.
In concert, Morganfield performs his own material with an occasional number from his father's work. He also performed at a Kennedy Center Honors tribute to his father. During the 2000s, Morganfield headlined many festivals and performed at venues around the world.
- 1997 - Nineteen Years Old
- 1999 - Rising Son
- 2001 - Ramblin' Mind
- 2003 - Blues in the Blood
- 2009 - Born Lover
- 2013 - Blues With a Mood
- 2016 - Bloodstains on the Wall