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It has been suggested that this artist was Robert Johnson's mother, but this appears not to be the case - Blues and Gospel Records 1890-1943's entry for "Mrs. Johnson"

Author Topic: Big Joe Duskin passes on  (Read 1716 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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Big Joe Duskin passes on
« on: May 07, 2007, 05:54:48 AM »
Many weenies will remember Big Joe Duskin attending the Port Townsend Workshop a few years ago. He sure loved to play. He was a bit like a train: it took quite awhile for him to stop. Alas, he's gone now:


One of the last Cincinnati blues music legends died this weekend. Big Joe Duskin passed
away at home Sunday morning at age 86.

A boogie-woogie piano player, Duskin may have been part of the generation that
produced legends like BB King and Muddy Waters, but his background was far from
typical: he fought as a soldier in World War II and became a Cincinnati Police Officer before
becoming a professional musician at age 43.

The late start came because of a promise to his father, a Baptist minister, that he wouldn't
play the blues while his father was still alive, a promise he made at age 17, a promise he
kept until with until his father died 26 years later. "I loved the old man, although he didn't
like the music and all that, so I never did play music until after he was in the grave.",
Duskin told FOX19 in a 2005 interview.

Duskin quickly made up for lost time, and became an internationally known artist, playing
clubs in Cincinnati, and throughout Europe, which has long been a strong market for
American blues.

His last album was recorded just three years ago, and he only slowed down recently
because of health problems. His daughter Sharon Parks said he was scheduled to have his
legs amputated because of diabetes, and believes he made a deal with God to take him
before that could happen.

"He done a lot of great things in his life. A lot to make me really proud he was my father."

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Big Joe Duskin passes on
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2007, 07:58:18 AM »
The late start came because of a promise to his father, a Baptist minister, that he wouldn't
play the blues while his father was still alive, a promise he made at age 17, a promise he
kept until with until his father died 26 years later. "I loved the old man, although he didn't
like the music and all that, so I never did play music until after he was in the grave.",
Duskin told FOX19 in a 2005 interview.
Sorry to show my ignorance I haven't a clue who Fox19 are/is but Duskin said much the same to Steve Tracy thirty years earlier (Blues Unlimited 101, May 1973) and restated it in greater detail to Tracy in the 1980s (Duskin chapter in "Going To Cincinnati").

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Big Joe Duskin passes on
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2007, 08:41:23 AM »
FOX19 would likely be the Cincinnati affiliate of the US TV network Fox. Info you don't need!

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Big Joe Duskin passes on
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2007, 08:52:59 AM »
FOX19 would likely be the Cincinnati affiliate of the US TV network Fox. Info you don't need!
Duh, shows how conditioned I am. Assumed it to be an internet moniker hiding the identity of somebody who'd prefer to remain anonymous.....

Online Johnm

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Re: Big Joe Duskin passes on
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2007, 10:40:53 AM »
Hi all,
It is kind of amazing that Big Joe lived as long as he did--he seemed pretty wan (for him) the last time he was at Port Townsend.  He was a wonderful player and terrific singer, in that "horn-for-a-voice", big bright sound that pianists like Roosevelt Sykes and Sunnyland Slim shared.  He was also an energetic, friendly guy.  I remember Orville and Parry shared a unit with Joe the first year he was at Port Townsend, and they said he spent a good portion of his time in the unit reading and quoting scripture--not in a pushy proselytizing way, just enthusiastic and into it.  I had no idea he started as a professional musician so late in life.  There certainly are some fascinating career arcs in this music.
All best,
Johnm

mississippijohnhurt1928

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Re: Big Joe Duskin passes on
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2007, 01:19:29 PM »
My god that's terrible news, I love Big Joe's music. R.I.P.  :'( :(

Offline jharris

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Re: Big Joe Duskin passes on
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2007, 04:07:44 PM »
Sad to hear of his passing. I was a fan ever since I heard his wonderful  "Cincinnati Stomp" on Arhoolie. I interviewed him in 2005 not long after he released "Big Joe Jumps Again!" Here's a link to the interview which starts with about 25 min. of music:



-Jeff H.

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