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Local Music Notebook: The Blind And The Bogus

1. Chicago Rapper Gonna Play Hova.


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2. A West Side Dedication.

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3. Remembering Mississippi Blind Boy Jesse Brown.

Born in Leland, Miss., to sharecropper parents, he was about 5 when his sight was damaged by debris that landed in his eye after a fall. He was blind by the time he was 13, relatives said.

He studied music at the legendary Piney Woods School, founded in 1909 to educate African-American children in one of the poorest parts of Mississippi - in an era when teaching them could draw violence, and worse. Piney Woods was a leader in teaching the blind. Helen Keller visited the school.

It produced a number of musical groups, including the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, an interracial jazz band that toured the nation in the 1940s.

The young Jesse Brown joined another musical group at the school, the Cotton Blossom Singers, according to Foster and Mr. Brown's daughter, Sally Miles. When the Cotton Blossom Singers moved to Jackson, Miss., they changed their name to the Jackson Harmoneers. They received their permanent moniker during a concert in Newark, N.J. A promoter dubbed them the "Five Blind Boys of Mississippi." They didn't like that at first - no grown African-American man wanted to be referred to as a boy, [lead singer Sandy] Foster said.

"There was a big debate about it, and the place was packed," Foster said. "The people accepted them, so, well, they kept that name."

In the mid-1940s, Mr. Brown moved to Chicago with his wife, Mary Louise Davidson. They raised five children and lived mostly at 21st and Avers. He worked for the Chicago Lighthouse for the blind, and he sang and played guitar for different groups. He occasionally accompanied Muddy Waters and B.B. King, Miles said.

See also: Five Blind Boys of Mississippi Wikipedia page.

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4. Young Chop: Gangbanging Is Old.

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5. LEP Bogus Boys Honor Slain Rapper L'A Capone.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on October 8, 2013


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