Freddie Roulette

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Freddie Roulette
Freddie Roulette creative commons wikipedia.png
Background information
Birth name Frederick Martin Roulette
Born (1939-05-03) May 3, 1939 (age 76)
Evanston, Illinois, United States
Genres Chicago blues, electric blues[1]
Occupation(s) Guitarist
Instruments Lap steel guitar
Years active 1960s–present
Labels Janus, Rykodisc, various
Associated acts Daphne Blue / Ray Bronner Henry Kaiser, Harvey Mandel, Earl Hooker, The Holmes Brothers

Frederick Martin "Freddie" Roulette (born May 3, 1939) is an American electric blues lap steel guitarist and singer. He is best known as an exponent of the lap steel guitar. Roulette is also a member of the Daphne Blue band,[2] and has collaborated with Earl Hooker, Charlie Musselwhite, Henry Kaiser, and Harvey Mandel, and released several solo albums.[1]

One commentator described Roulette as an "excellent musician".[3] As of August 12, 2013, VidStatsX, a video statistic company, reported Freddie Roulette's work with the Daphne Blue band shows approximately 55,000 views on the video sharing site, YouTube.[2][4][5]


Freddie Roulette's family originally came from New Orleans,[6] however he was born and raised in Evanston, Illinois. He learned to play steel guitar in high school.[1] He started playing in clubs in Chicago in his teens, and in 1965 began work in Earl Hooker's backing band, continuing to tour and perform with him until 1969.[7]

Earl Hooker's band, with pianist Pinetop Perkins, harmonica player Carey Bell, vocalist Andrew Odom, and Roulette, was "widely acclaimed" and "considered [as] one of the best Earl had ever carried with him".[8] Roulette participated on several of Hooker's singles, his 1967 album, The Genius of Earl Hooker, and the 1969 follow-up, Two Bugs and a Roach.[6][9]

Roulette later developed a friendship with Charlie Musselwhite, and recorded with him (credited as Fred Roulette) on the 1969 band album Chicago Blue Stars.[6][10] He then toured with Musselwhite, and backed him on the albums Tennessee Woman and Memphis, Tennessee, before relocating to the San Francisco, California, area where he has lived ever since.[11] When there, he played in a band with Luther Tucker, and recorded with Earl Hooker's cousin, John Lee Hooker.[6]

After leaving Chicago for the San Francisco Bay Area Roulette was, "teaming up with the 14-year-old guitarist Ray Bronner ('Daphne Blue Ray'), and some veterans from Chicago in the band Daphne Blue, Freddie was often joined by ‘Big Moose’ (Johnny Walker), ‘Pinetop Perkins’ and Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown at gigs and on record."[12] "Freddie released an album, ‘Daphne Blue: Legendary Blues Instrumentals’ which contains 15 excellent tracks, which he considers to be among his finest works."[13] As of 2015, "Freddie still plays with the San Francisco based ‘Daphne Blue’, with Blue Ray Bronner."[14]

In 1973, Roulette released his debut solo album, Sweet Funky Steel, which was produced by his fellow guitarist, Harvey Mandel.[1] Don "Sugarcane" Harris also played on several tracks. Over the next twenty years, he continued to perform with other musicians and occasionally led his own band, while also working full-time as an apartment manager. The 1996 album, Psychedelic Guitar Circus, saw him work in a group format with Mandel, Kaiser and Steve Kimock.[15] His solo 1997 album, Back in Chicago: Jammin' with Willie Kent and the Gents, had Roulette recording with both Willie Kent and Chico Banks.[16] The album won the Living Blues magazine award as Best Blues Album of 1997.[6] Following that album's success, Roulette began performing widely at blues festivals, and followed it up with the 1998 album Spirit of Steel, featuring The Holmes Brothers and produced by Kaiser, as well as contributing to Kaiser's own album Yo Miles, a tribute to Miles Davis.[6]

Roulette's solo album, Man of Steel (2006), incorporated guitar playing contributions from Will Bernard and David Lindley, as well as guitar and production duties from Kaiser.[17] It was recorded in Fantasy Studios, in Berkeley, California, and included strains of jazz, country, soul and reggae in the overall blues setting.[11] In the same year, Roulette played locally in a small combo including Mike Hinton.[18]

Roulette has played at a number of outdoor events over the years, including the Long Beach Blues Festival, the San Francisco Blues Festival (1979), and the Calgary Folk Music Festival (2000). He has also continued to play club dates in the San Francisco area, often with Harvey Mandel. In 2012, Jammin' With Friends was recorded at three separate studios with various musicians. It was produced by Michael Borbridge, who also played drums on all the tracks.


Year Title Record label
1969 Chicago Blue Stars
with Charlie Musselwhite, Skip Rose, Louis Myers, Jack Myers, Fred Below, Steve Kimock, Harvey Mandel
Blue Thumb Records
1973 Sweet Funky Steel Janus Records
1996 Psychedelic Guitar Circus
with Henry Kaiser, Steve Kimock and Harvey Mandel
Rykodisc Records
1997 Back in Chicago: Jammin' with Willie Kent and the Gents Hi Horse Records
1999 Spirit of Steel Tradition & Moderne Records
2000 Black White & Blue: Daphne Blue Band Daphne Blue[19][20]
2000 10 Picture Disk Hi Horse Records
2006 Man of Steel Tradition & Moderne Records
2012 Jammin' With Friends Electric Snake
2015 Daphne Blue, The Legendary Blues Instrumentals
featuring Earl Hooker, Ray Bronner, Freddie Roulette, PineTop Perkins, Big Moose Walker, and Buddy Miles
Steel Blue Records (reissue of vinyl collectors' edition album)[21]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Craig Harris. "Freddie Roulette". Allmusic. Retrieved October 16, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Daphneblueband YouTube Channel Stats, Subscriber Statistics, Ranking". Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  3. ^ Herzhaft, Gérard et al. (1997). Encyclopedia of the blues (1st ed.). Fayetteville, Arkansas: The University of Arkansas Press. p. 32. ISBN 1-55728-452-0. 
  4. ^ "Freddie Roulette Lap Steel Master (Behind the scenes making a Daphne Blue album)". YouTube. 2010-11-13. Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  5. ^ "Freddie Roulette & Daphne Blue SLEEPWALK LIVE Santo Johnny". YouTube. 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Scott M. Bock, Freddie Roulette: "I just decided steel was it", Juke Blues no. 61, 2006, pp.16-21
  7. ^ Danchin, Sebastian (2001). Earl Hooker, blues master (1st ed.). Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi. p. 230. ISBN 1-57806-306-X. 
  8. ^ Danchin, Sebastian (2001). Earl Hooker, blues master (1st ed.). Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi. p. 251. ISBN 1-57806-306-X. 
  9. ^ Stefan Wirz. "Illustrated Earl Hooker discography". Retrieved October 16, 2011. 
  10. ^ Chicago Blue Stars at
  11. ^ a b "Man of Steel (2006)". Retrieved October 16, 2011. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Allmusic ((( Psychedelic Guitar Circus > Credits )))". 
  16. ^ "Allmusic ((( Back in Chicago: Jammin' with Willie Kent and the Gents > Credits )))". 
  17. ^ "Allmusic ((( Man of Steel > Credits )))". 
  18. ^ "Hillbilly Music". Retrieved October 16, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Daphne Blue | Black White & Blue | CD Baby Music Store". Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  20. ^ "ARTIST Freddie Roulette & Daphne Blue ALBUM Black, White & Blue". Amazon. 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  21. ^ "Freddie Roulette & Daphne Blue | Daphne Blue: Legendary Blues Instrumentals". Retrieved 2015-02-25. 
  22. ^ "Allmusic ((( Freddie Roulette > Discography > Main Albums )))".