Cultural Percussionist

Luther Allison Day

Luther Allison (August 17, 1939 – August 12, 1997) was an American blues guitarist. He was born in Widener, Arkansas, and moved with his family to Chicago in 1951. He taught himself guitar and began listening to blues extensively. Three years later he began hanging around outside blues nightclubs with the hopes of being invited to perform. He played with Howlin’ Wolf‘s band and backed James Cotton.

Allison’s big break came in 1957, when Howlin’ Wolf invited him to the stage. Freddie King took Allison under his wing, and after King got a record deal, Allison took over his gig in the house band of a club on Chicago’s West Side. He worked the club circuit in the late 1950s and early 1960s and recorded his first single in 1965. He signed a recording contract with Delmark Records in 1967 and released his debut album, Love Me Mama, the following year. He performed a well-received set at the 1969 Ann Arbor Blues Festival and as a result was asked to perform there in each of the next three years. He toured nationwide. In 1972, he signed with Motown Records, one of the few blues artists on that label. In the mid-1970s he toured Europe. He moved to France in 1977.

Allison was known for his powerful concert performances, lengthy soulful guitar solos and crowd walking with his Gibson Les Paul. He lived briefly during this period in Peoria, Illinois, where he signed with Rumble Records, releasing two live recordings, “Gonna Be a Live One in Here Tonight”, produced by Bill Knight, and “Power Wire Blues”, produced by George Faber and Jeffrey P. Hess.

Share this post

Leave a Comment