Elvin Bishop

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Elvin Richard Bishop

(born October 21, 1942)

is an American blues and rock musician and guitarist.


Life and career


Bishop was born in Glendale, California, the son of Mylda (Kleege) and Elvin Bishop, Sr. He

grew up on a farm near Elliott, Iowa. His family moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, when Bishop was

ten. There he attended Will Rogers High School, winning a full scholarship to the University of

Chicago as a National Merit Scholar finalist. He moved to Chicago in 1960 to attend the

university, where he majored in physics. In 1963, he met harmonica player Paul Butterfield in

the neighborhood of Hyde Park and joined Butterfield's blues band, and remained with them

for five years. Their third album, The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw, takes its name from

Bishop's nickname.[2] During his time with the Butterfield Blues Band, Bishop met blues

guitarist Louis Meyers at a show. Bishop convinced Meyers to trade his Gibson ES-345 for

Bishop's Telecaster. Bishop liked the Gibson so much he never gave it back and has used it

throughout his career. Bishop has nicknamed his Gibson ES-345 "Red Dog," a name he got

from a roadie for the Allman Brothers Band.


In 1968 he went solo and formed the Elvin Bishop Group, also performing with Mike

Bloomfield and Al Kooper on their album titled The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al

Kooper. The group signed with Fillmore Records, which was owned by Bill Graham, who also

owned the Fillmore music venues.



Photo of the group in 1975.


In March 1971, The Elvin Bishop Group and The Allman Brothers Band co-billed a series of

concerts at the Fillmore East. Bishop joined The Allman Brothers Band onstage for a rendition

of his own song, Drunken Hearted Boy. Over the years, Bishop has recorded with many other

blues artists includingClifton Chenier and John Lee Hooker. In late 1975, he played guitar for a

couple of tracks on Bo Diddley's The 20th Anniversary of Rock 'n' Roll album, and in 1995, he toured with B.B. King.


Bishop made an impression on album-oriented rock FM radio stations with Travelin' Shoes in 1975 but a year later, in 1976, Bishop released his

most memorable single, "Fooled Around and Fell in Love", which peaked at #3 in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart (and #34 in the UK charts). The

recording featured vocalist Mickey Thomas and drummer Donny Baldwin who both later joined Jefferson Starship.


Bishop feels that the limitations of his voice have helped his songwriting.



Bishop performing at the Riverwalk Blues Festival, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in February 2006


Bishop appeared at the 1984 Long Beach Blues Festival. In 1988, he signed with Alligator Records and released Big Fun featuring Whit Lehnberg &

The Carptones, 1991's Don't Let the Bossman Get You Down, 1995's Ace in the Hole, 1998's The Skin I'm In and That's My Partner (2000), on which

he paired with an early Chicago blues teacher, Little Smokey Smothers. He later revisited Smothers in the studio, where the two recorded another

album in 2009; Little Smokey Smothers & Elvin Bishop: Chicago Blues Buddies.


In 2005, Bishop released his first new CD in five years, Gettin' My Groove BackIn 2008, Bishop released The Blues Roles On, on September 23,

2008, switching labels to Delta Groove Music. He was supported by Tommy Castro, James Cotton, Warren Haynes, B.B. King, Derek Trucks, George

Thorogood, Kim Wilson, John Németh and Angela Strehli. The album was nominated for Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album. In 2010,

Bishop released Red Dog Speaks.


Bishop sat in with the Grateful Dead on June 8, 1969 at the Fillmore West in San Francisco. He opened the second set with the lengthy blues jam,

Turn on Your Lovelight without Pigpen or Jerry. He played two more songs with the Dead, The Things I Used to Do and Who's Lovin' You Tonight.


Bishop was inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in 1998.


His first live concert DVD, That's My Thing': Elvin Bishop Live in Concert, was recorded live at the Club Fox in Redwood City, CA on December 17,

2011. It was released on the Delta Groove label in October 2012. The DVD was nominated for Best Blues DVD of 2012 by the Blues Foundation. The

same organisation announced that Bishop had six nominations for the 36th Blues Music Awards set to be held in May 2015.[10] He triumphed in

three of them.


Personal life




Bishop's daughter Selina, and ex-wife Jennifer Villarin, were murdered in August 2000] by Glenn Taylor Helzer, his brother Justin Helzer, and

accomplice Dawn Godman. According to The Point Reyes Light, "Bishop, her mother Jenny Villarin, and a friend of Villarin, James Gamble, were

murdered as part of an elaborate scheme to extort $100,000 from elderly Concord, California residents Ivan and Annette Stineman. Both killers

were sentenced to death for the murders; Justin Helzer committed suicide in San Quentin prison.


In popular culture


Charlie Daniels mentions Bishop in his 1975 song "The South's Gonna Do It", with the lyric, "Elvin Bishop sittin' on a bale of hay; he ain't good

lookin', but he sure can play." Molly Hatchet also references Bishop in their 1978 song "Gator Country", with the lyrics, "Elvin Bishop out struttin' his

stuff with little Miss Slick Titty Boom, I'm goin' back to the Gator Country and get me some elbow room."







The Forum post is edited by bninna Aug 12 '15


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