Lil Jimmy Reed with Bob Hall & Hilary Blythe

Robin 2, Wolverhampton.

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Still playing and touring the World, Li’l Jimmy Reed is the last of the original Louisiana bluesmen.
The blues was born in the deep South, a wild outcry against segregation, poverty and hard, back-breaking work. Sadly most of the great musicians who created this vibrant, influential music have passed on, leaving only their recordings to testify to their genius. However, one man, whose career stretches back to the time when rhythm ‘n’ blues was just bursting onto the popular music scene, is still with us and playing better than ever.

At 79, Leon Atkins, better known as Lil’ Jimmy Reed, is the real deal, as will be attested to by anyone who has been privileged to hear his stinging guitar work, gritty vocals and haunting harmonica. A tall charismatic figure, Lil’ Jimmy epitomises the classic Louisiana down-home blues tradition. Born in the late nineteen-thirties in a shot-gun shack in Hardwood, LA, a small cotton and sawmill town on the Mississippi River, Leon grew up near a club where every night he absorbed the wail of the blues from across the street. At six he had his own guitar, made from a cigar box, and by the time he was a teenager he was proficient on both guitar and harmonica, playing local clubs around Baton Rouge. Filling-in one night for blues star Jimmy Reed earned him the sobriquet Lil’ Jimmy Reed and started him on the long path to success.

After years of playing small clubs and taverns, Lil’ Jimmy took time out to serve his country in the military. Since his return to civilian life his career has blossomed. He has shared the stage with B. B. King and Bobby “ Blue” Bland and head-lined festivals in the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland. In 2016 he will add Italy and Spain to his tally. His many fans recognise that Lil’ Jimmy’s performances are almost the last chance to hear the raw, unadulterated sound of authentic Louisiana blues.

Lil Jimmy Reed continues to play all over the US and Europe and as he happily says “life just get better with time”.

Bob Hall & Hilary Blythe
Touring with Lil Jimmy are Bob Hall and his partner Hilary Blythe. Critically acknowledged as Britain’s finest blues and boogie pianist, Bob Hall’s distinctive and original piano style has influenced generations of piano players.
A multi-award winner, Bob is well-known for his piano accompaniments to scores of legendary US blues stars, including John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf and Little Walter, and for his work with pioneer blues-rock outfits The Groundhogs and Savoy Brown. His own all-star bands have included at various times blues idols Peter Green, Jack Bruce, Alexis Korner and Jo Ann Kelly.
Bob has performed at most major European blues festivals and on (literally) hundreds of recordings. His albums include two classic boogie woogie piano collections and many others featuring his wry, down-home vocals and original compositions.
“Surely the finest of the British blues and boogie pianists – with a flair for imaginative lyrics.” Blues and Rhythm
“A master of the austere arts of blues and boogie woogie piano”
The Penguin Guide to Blues Recordings

A talented guitarist and rock-steady bass player, Hilary Blythe has been Bob’s partner on the blues scene for twenty years, most recently in the Lil’ Jimmy Reed Band. A diminutive dynamo, her moving treatment of blues and gospel themes has brought her significant acclaim.

Bob & Hilary’s latest highly-acclaimed CD is titled “What Goes Round” and is available on the SPV Blue label No 42572.