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Alex Moore

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b. 11 November 1899, Dallas, Texas, USA, d. 20 January 1989, Dallas, Texas, USA. A lifelong individualist and eccentric, Moore came in later life to be regarded as a patriarch of Texas piano blues, although his inspirational technique wilfully avoided categorization. He grew up in Freedman’s Town, a section of Dallas where the children of slaves congregated. He became interested in piano while working as a delivery boy for a grocery store, and developed his style in the dives and whorehouses of north Dallas. He recorded six titles for Columbia Records in December 1929, including the first version of ‘Blue Bloomer Blues’, and recorded this blues again for Decca in February 1937. With typical initiative, he financed his own session, recording eight titles, of which only two were later issued on album. A session for RPM in 1951 yielded five titles, two issued on a single, a third on album. In July 1960, Chris Strachwitz and Paul Oliver recorded him extensively for Arhoolie Records and Oliver’s ‘Conversations With The Blues’ project. He was a member of the 1969 American Folk Blues Festival tour of Europe and recorded another album in Stuttgart, Germany. Throughout the 70s he was a feature of the festival circuit. In 1987 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Two years later, he recorded his last album for Rounder. Idiosyncratic to the end, he was returning home from a domino game at the Martin Luther King Centre in south Dallas and died on the bus, riding at the front, no doubt.

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