Doctor Ross

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Doctor Ross
Birth nameCharles Isaiah Ross
Born(1925-10-21)October 21, 1925
Tunica, Mississippi, U.S.
DiedMay 28, 1993(1993-05-28) (aged 67)
GenresDetroit blues
Occupation(s)Musician, singer
InstrumentsGuitar, harmonica, drums
Years active1951–1993

Doctor Ross (October 21, 1925 – May 28, 1993),[1] also known as Doctor Ross the Harmonica Boss, born Charles Isaiah Ross in Tunica, Mississippi, was an American blues singer, guitarist, harmonica player and drummer.[2]

Ross's blues style has been compared to that of John Lee Hooker and Sonny Boy Williamson I. His recordings for Sun Records in the 1950s include "The Boogie Disease"[3] and "Chicago Breakdown". Within the lyrics of "The Boogie Disease", Ross notably sang "I may get better / but I'll never get well".[3]


In the early 1950’s Ross's records began to get airplay in Mississippi and Arkansas. He recorded with Chess Records and Sun with a group that included folk instruments, such as the washboard .[2]

In 1954 Ross moved to the Detroit area and began working for General Motors in Flint, Michigan.[2][4] He recorded some singles with Fortune Records, including "Cat Squirrel" and "Industrial Boogie". He recorded an album issued by Testament Records and toured with the American Folk Blues Festival in Europe in 1965.[2] ("Cat's Squirrel" (sic) was covered by the supergroup Cream on their debut album Fresh Cream). Ross recorded an album for Blue Horizon while he was in London and worked with Ornament Records in Germany in 1972.[5] During the 1970s he also participated in the Big Bear Records package tour and album American Blues Legends '74, also recording two solo albums for the label, Live At Montreaux and The Harmonica Boss.[6]

Ross and his music were popular in Europe, more so than in his home country.[2] He died in 1993, at the age of 67, and was buried in Flint, Michigan.

Doctor Ross was among hundreds of artists whose material was destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.[7]


  1. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Doctor Ross | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-10-06.
  2. ^ a b c d e Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books. p. 163. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.
  3. ^ a b Robert Palmer. Deep Blues. Penguin Books. p. 239. ISBN 978-0-14-006223-6.
  4. ^ Robert Palmer. Deep Blues. Penguin Books. p. 242. ISBN 978-0-14-006223-6.
  5. ^ Wirz, Stefan (January 8, 2010). "Ornament Discography". Retrieved January 30, 2010.
  6. ^ Wirz, Stephen. "Illustrated Big Bear Records discography". Retrieved 2020-11-20.
  7. ^ Rosen, Jody (25 June 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 June 2019.

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