Born on this day in 1904 as Hudson Whitaker, the talented young blues guitarist would later earn the nickname "Tampa Red" for both his bright red hair and his Florida upbringing. Moving to Chicago in the mid-1920s, Red would become the city's first guitar star, and an important artistic bridge between the rural "country blues" of the South and the urban blues style that would evolve in the Windy City during the 1940s.
Tampa Red's recording career spanned an amazing 30 years and yielded hundreds of songs, including several future blues standards. As an instrumentalist, he became known as "The Guitar Wizard," and Red was a brilliant single-note lead player and pioneering slide-guitarist who would influence later talents like Robert Nighthawk, Chuck Berry, and Duane Allman, among many others. Red was also known for his kindness, and at his commercial peak during the 1940s, his home was open to other blues artists, the generous Red providing food, lodging, and a rehearsal space for to musicians newly-arrived from the South.
Join us today in celebrating the life and career of the one and only Tampa Red!
Related content: Tampa Red - The Guitar Wizard CD review
Photo courtesy Legacy Recordings