Byway Blues

Wednesdays at 8:45 a.m. and Fridays at 3:45 p.m.
  • Hosted by Lesli Rambin

Byway Blues tells the stories of the untapped blues roots in northeast Louisiana. Host Lesli Rambin shares the lives and musical accomplishments of famous local artists and their families.

The series spotlights buildings and venues that served as host to many famous musicians—all in an effort to preserve and potentially restore these historic cultural landmarks.

In addition, the segment features artists currently performing in the region who trace their inspiration from blues artists they’ve admired for years.

Byway Blues is produced with the generous support of Washington Wine and Spirits, the Entergy Charitable Foundation, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, and the Northeast Louisiana Arts Coucil.

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Jukin' Into the History Books

May 3, 2016
Geraldine Oliver Barbin

Little Walter was a true pioneer of the blues. He helped bring the harmonica into a spotlight of its own. He became one of the great Chicago bluesmen, helping define and solidify the sound that would become Chicago Blues.

Born Marion Walter Jacobs in Marksville, Louisiana in 1930, Little Walter grew up playing in local clubs with his cousin, Boogie Jake, and later moved to Chicago to seek his fame. In Chicago he met Muddy Waters and became a member of his band in 1948. Eventually, Walter set out on his own, recording for the Checker Label, a subsidiary of Chess. 

Byway Blues: Bobby Blue Bland

Sep 24, 2015
Kirk West/Getty Images / billboard.com

One of the Elite Lounge's most memorable performances came from blues legend Bobby Blue Bland.

In the final highlight installment of the Byways Blues Special, Kirby Rambin talks with Rev. Roosevelt Wright about the performances of Bland, Little Milton, and Tyrone Davis at the Elite Lounge in Monroe's downtown.

Wright also discusses a renovation project for the site, in hopes of keeping and creating memories of talented blues and R&B performers. 

Byway Blues: Savoy Ballroom

Sep 24, 2015
Preston Lauterbach / prestonlauterbach.com

The African-American Business Enterprise established the Miller-Roy building in 1929.

The building housed the Savoy Ballroom.  Kirby and Lesli Rambin catch up with Roosevelt Wright about the ballroom's heyday.  Wright shares that following the stock market's crash, musical acts at the Savoy helped keep the enterprise district alive.

Renowned names like Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Fats Domino, and Duke Ellington, all performed at the Savoy in Monroe.

Byway Blues: 3rd Street Woman Blues

Sep 24, 2015
courtesy / youtube.com

Blind Joe Reynolds, who also recorded under the name of Willie Reynolds, was known to have a reputation in the years after losing his sight.

Reynolds moved Lake Providence, continuing to perfect his style of bottleneck slide guitar.  Personally, he was known as a bit of a rogue, who taunted societal norms.  His blindness did not prevent him from fending for himself, as he became known as a crack-shot with a pistol from hearing his target.

Byway Blues: Blind Joe Reynolds

Sep 24, 2015
courtesy / chronoglide.com

In Part One of the Byway Blues Special, Kirby and Lesli Rambin feature the early days of Blind Joe Reynolds.

Reynolds, born in Tallulah, Louisiana, also spent time growing up in Richwood.  He went on to record music in New York and Memphis.  

Kirby interviews Linda Bowman, Reynolds' niece.  She shares the story about her uncle losing his eyes as the result of a shotgun blast of bird shot, following an argument.  Bowman adds that despite the incident, Reynolds never slowed in his passion for blues music.

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