Sweetblood Call – The blues purity of Louisiana Red


Iverson Minter was born in 1932 in Alabama. His life’s story is so dramatic that it is no wonder he ended up having the blues in his soul. Around the time of his birth, his grandfather died, and his mother died right after from pneumonia, a result of following his coffin. At five years old, he was made an orphan by the Ku Klux Clan, lynching his father. He was raised by relatives in Pittsburgh and New Orleans.

In 1963, with his first record coming out, he meets and marries Ealease, a woman he sings some songs about. She gives him three children, but their luck is short: she dies in 1973 of cancer. Near the end of his life, when asked about his involvement in helping Ghanese children he tells the interviewer Spencer Leigh: I was brutally beaten by my uncle so I know what brutality is. I would rather not have had these experiences but they have helped my music. My life is the blues and it’s all I know. Blues music is deep and it will always be there.

I suppose in his music he found solace. Many of his songs are about his experiences. On this record he sings heartbreakingly about the death of his wife in Death of Ealease. He started out with Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker, but is better on his own. In 1975 he performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival and was discovered as a master on the slide guitar. He finds it difficult to make a living in the US though, and moves to Hamburg and later Hanover in Germany.

Louisiana Red (the name comes from Minter’s favourite Louisiana hot sauce) made more than fifty albums, but his tortured journey ended in 2012, in Hanover. Just a year before he was still performing, and making his last album.

Add a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *