Lowell Fulson


Lowell Fulson covered the entire spectrum of blues styles in his recordings, from smooth urban blues to raw two-guitar duets with his younger brother Martin to funk-tinged grooves that slashed through the charts in the mid-1960s. Few bluesmen have been able to stay current for more than five decades, like Lowell Fulson, a career-long innovator who recorded and played well into the 1990s.

Lowell Fulson – Ace Records
After growing up in Oklahoma and hearing the Western swing of Bob Wills and the local blues, Fulson decided to spend a few months in 1940 touring Texas with blues legend Texas Alexander. In 1943, the United States military-drafted Fulson. After being discharged from the Navy in 1945, he spent a short time in Oklahoma before moving to Oakland, California, to record his first 78s with up-and-coming producer Bob Giddins. Very quickly, Fulson was at the helm of his band and cutting a slew of records for labels, including Big Town, Gilt Edge, Trilon, and Down Town (where he scored a significant hit in 1948 with “Three O’Clock Blues,” which was later recorded by B.B. King.

Lowell Fulson, a blues musician, was born in Tulsa on March 31, 1921, to parents of Choctaw and African American origin; his grandpa played the violin, and two of his uncles played the guitar. When Fulson was a kid, he’d play at church and picnics; when he was a teen, he’d hit up the Ada clubs. While serving in the military from 1943 to 1945, he became aware of Oakland, California’s thriving music scene, ultimately leading to his relocation there in 1946. Both “Cryin’ Blues” and “You’re Going to Miss Me When I’m Gone” were recorded by him that year, with his brother Martin Fulson on guitar. The R&B smash “Three O’Clock Blues,” released by Fulson in 1947, was a huge success. In 1949, he relocated to Los Angeles, where he recorded “Everyday I Have the Blues,” which peaked at No. 5 on the rhythm and blues (R&B) charts. He pioneered the West Coast “uptown blues” style at this time when he added horns to the traditional electric blues combo of bass, guitar, and drums.

Both “Blue Shadows” (at #1) and “Lonesome Christmas” (at #7) by Fulson were top ten singles that year. Blues greats like Elvis Presley and Eric Clapton have covered his 1954 single “Reconsider Baby” (Number Three). His final R&B songs, “Make a Little Love” and “Tramp,” both charted in 1967. His CD It’s a Good Day, released in 1988 on Rounder Records, was very well received. In the 1990s, Fulson recorded his signature style for Bullseye Records; in 1993, he was honored with five W. C. Handy Awards and induction into the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame and the Blues Hall of Fame.

In 2014 Fulson was inducted in to The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

Them Update Blues (Rounder), released in 1996, was nominated for a Grammy as the best traditional blues album.

In the early morning of March 6, 1999, he passed away close to Seal Beach, California.

You can listen to Lowell Fulson on Apple Music

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