Soko Richardson

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Soko Richardson
Soko on back cover of John Mayall album, The Latest Edition. Photography and design by John Mayall, 1974
Background information
Born (1939-12-08)8 December 1939
New Iberia, Louisiana, United States
Died 29 January 2004(2004-01-29) (aged 64)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres Blues, R&B, blues-rock, rock, soul
Occupation(s) Drummer, percussionist, arranger
Instruments Drums
Years active 1955–2004
Associated acts John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, The Ike & Tina Turner Revue

Soko Richardson (December 8, 1939 – January 29, 2004) was an American rhythm and blues drummer. His career spanned almost fifty years, during which he performed and recorded with seminal groups including John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and the The Ike & Tina Turner Revue. He is perhaps best known for his innovative arrangement of the Ike and Tina version of the Creedence Clearwater Revival song, "Proud Mary".[1][2]


Born in New Iberia, Louisiana, Richardson began his musical career at the age of 16, when he left home to tour the South with local bands. Shortly thereafter Ike Turner, upon hearing Richardson play in Texas, hired him to play with his band, Kings of Rhythm, and then later with The Ike & Tina Turner Revue. Richardson worked with Turner for the next ten years. In March 1971 Richardson's arrangement of the Creedence Clearwater Revival song, "Proud Mary" reached number four on the pop charts, and number five on the R&B charts. The song became a signature song for Tina Turner, and won the band a Grammy for "Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Group."[1][3]

In 1971, Richardson joined John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, with whom he would tour and record for the next decade, playing with many of the diverse artists to whom Mayall gave a start.[4][5][6]

In the mid 1980s, Richardson joined Albert Collins and the Icebreakers, and became an influential member of the Chicago Blues scene. He helped earn the Icebreakers the WC Handy Award as Blues Band of The Year in 1985.[1][2]

Over the years Richardson recorded with many other artists, including Pee Wee Crayton, Bobby Womack and English guitarist Terry Reid, with whom he was recording an album at the time of his death. Though limited by health problems in later years, he continued to perform and record, and sit in on jam sessions with friends. He played his last gig a few weeks before his death, at a club with Reid.[1][2]

Richardson died in the early hours of January 29, 2004, in his home in Los Angeles, from complications of diabetes. He was 64.[1][7]

Partial discography[edit]

With Ike & Tina Turner[edit]

  • 1966 - River Deep - Mountain High - Ike & Tina Turner
  • 1969 - A Black Man's Soul - Ike Turner's Kings Of Rhythm (Pompeii Records)
  • 1971 - What You Hear is What You Get - Ike & Tina Turner (EMI) live
  • 1991 - Proud Mary, the Best of Ike & Tina Turner (Capitol)

With John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers[edit]

  • 1974 - The Latest Edition (Polydor)
  • 1975 - New Year, New Band, New Company (ABC - One Way)
  • 1975 - Notice to Appear (ABC - One Way)
  • 1976 - Banquet in Blues (ABC - One Way)
  • 1977 - A Hard Core Package (ABC - One Way)
  • 1978 - Last of the British Blues (ABC - OneWay) live
  • 1982 - Road Show Blues (DJM)

With Albert Collins[edit]

  • 1988 - In Concert (MVD) live DVD
  • 1991 - Iceman (Virgin)

Various others[edit]

  • 1992 - Guitars That Rule the World - Various Artists (Metal Blade)
  • 1994 - Chess Rhythm & Roll - Various (Chess)
  • 2003 - Anthology - Bobby Womack (The Right Stuff)


  1. ^ a b c d e Soko Richardson press release from Fri Jan 30, 2004
  2. ^ a b c Noted Soul Drummer Soko Richardson Dies February, 2004
  3. ^ The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (Revised edition, 2001) New York, Fireside/Simon & Schuster. pp.1010 ISBN 0-7432-0120-5
  4. ^ John Mayall's Bluesbreakers accessed March 7, 2007
  5. ^ John Mayall Albums accessed March 7, 2007
  6. ^ The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll p.621
  7. ^ John Mayall Newsletter accessed March 7, 2007

External links[edit]