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Clearwater, Eddie

Biography

Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater is the stage name of Edward Harrington (born January 10, 1935), an American Chicago blues musician. Blues Revue said Eddy plays “joyous rave-ups…he testifies with stunning soul fervor and powerful guitar. One of the blues’ finest songwriters.” He was born in Macon, Mississippi, on January 10, 1935. His family moved to Birmingham, Alabama in 1948. He taught himself to play guitar at an early age (left-handed and upside down) and began performing with various gospel groups, including the Five Blind Boys Of Alabama.Clearwater is best known for being part of the Chicago blues scene since the 1950s. He performs both within the U.S. (especially around the Chicago, Illinois area, where he resides) and internationally, such as at Blues festivals inFrance, Germany, Denmark, Poland and the Netherlands. His sound has been described as “hard-driving Windy City blues, soul-tinged balladry, acoustic country blues and gospel uplift….good natured fretboard fireworks.”When he left the South for Chicago in 1950, he worked as a dishwasher while living with an uncle. Through his uncle he met many of Chicago’s blues masters, including fellow left-handed guitarist Otis Rush and Magic Sam. Once he heard the music of Chuck Berry, he began performing some of Berry’s material as well as writing in a Berry-influenced style. He still regularly performs songs by Rush, Magic Sam and Berry as well as his own original material In 1953, now known as Guitar Eddy, he began working regularly in Chicago’s south and west side bars. His first single, the Chuck Berry-styled “Hill Billy Blues”, was recorded in 1958 for his uncle’s Atomic H label, under the monikerClear Waters, a name given to him by his manager Jump Jackson as wordplay on the more famous Muddy Waters.He recorded a few more singles and began receiving local radio airplay. Eventually the name Clear Waters morphed into Eddy Clearwater. He worked steadily throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and he was among the first blues musicians to find success with Chicago’s north side college crowd. He toured Europe twice during the 1970s and appeared on BBC Television. Clearwater has been nicknamed The Chief and sometimes wears Native Americanheaddress] The release of his 1980 album The Chief under the Rooster Blues label announced that Clearwater's ascendancy to Chicago blues stardom was officially underway. Two encores for Rooster Blues, Help Yourself (1992) and Mean Case of the Blues (1996), cemented Clearwater's reputation. He became known as a masterful blues showman whose principal goal is to provide his fans with a real good time. Cool Blues Walk followed in 1998, followed by Chicago Daily Blues the next year, with Reservation Blues released in mid 2000. In 2004, he was nominated for a Grammy Award with Los Straitjackets for their collaboration, Rock 'N' Roll City.Vintage Guitar described his 2008 Alligator Records album, West Side Strut as “great blues. Eddy’s fat, voluptuous tone shows a masterful command of the guitar. It’s hard to believe he can reach such heights in a recording studio. One listen and you’ll wonder why Clearwater’s name isn’t respectfully spoken in the same breath as Freddie King and Otis Rush.Clearwater is married to his manager, Renee Greenman. Together they once owned 'Reservation Blues', a Wicker Park (Chicago) blues bar and restaurant. It is no longer in operation. He is the father of two children, Jason and Edgar Harrington. He has three stepchildren, as well as two grandchildren.




Recordings

Dawkins, Jimmy / Johnson, Jimmy / Kent, Willie / Clearwater, Eddie / Odom, Big Voice / Blueblood, Andrew / Slim, Magic / Elm, Big Mojo / King, Bobby: The Chicago Blues Box

The brief and dazzling life of MCM Records was a labor of love that captured many treasurable live performances from the last flowering of the classic Chicago Blues age. A young French woman Marcelle Chailleux Morgantini was married to Jacques Morgantini who changed her life into American jazz and blues.

Guitarist Jimmy Dawkins was a good friend and helped them in Chicago to meet and hear the many good blues musicians that played at the different clubs in Chicago. Marcelle returned from her Chicago pilgrimage filled with excitement. Says Jacques Morgantini: It was the year of Marcelle’s 50th birthday and she came into some money from her family. She said to me, “I do not want an expensive coat or jewels – I want to go to Chicago to record the blues. She knew that it could only be done if she had her own record label and complete artistic control. Marcelle made three trips to Chicago in 1975,1976 and 1977 and arrived...