A Guide to the Johnny Copeland and Texas Blues Program, 1987
Born in Louisiana, blues guitarist and singer Johnny Copeland (1937-1997) was raised in Houston, Texas, where he formed the band Dukes of Rhythm. Although he recorded albums and performed with Sonny Boy Williamson and Bib Mama Thornton in Texas, Copeland only received recognition after moving to New York City in 1975. Six years later, he signed with Rounder Records and released his album with Arthur Blythe and Byard Lancaster, Copeland Special. In 1982, during a tour of West Africa, Copeland recorded Bringing It All Back Home, becoming one of the first American blues musicians to record in Africa, and, in 1986, he won a Grammy Award for his album with Albert Collins and Robert Cray, Showdown. Diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, Copeland underwent seven open-heart operations in the 1990s. Receiving a heart transplant in 1996, he died due to complications of surgery to repair a heart valve the next year.
Strauss, Neil. "Johnny Copeland, 60, Who Sang Texas Blues and Played Guitar."New York Times, July 4, 1997.
Recorded off-the-air in February 1987, the "Johnny Copeland and Texas Blues" Program, 1987, comprises one audiocassette of the radio program "Johnny Copeland and Texas Blues," narrated by B. B. King for the NPR series Horizons. The program discusses the life of Texas guitarist Johnny Copeland and the history of blues in Texas, including the influences of T-Bone Walker, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and Lightning Hopkins as well as Copeland’s impact on the development of blues music.
This collection is open for research use.
"Johnny Copeland and Texas Blues" Program, 1987, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s “History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project,” 2009-2011.
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