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BISHOP, ELVIN (1942 - )

As the Butterfield Blues Band's lead guitarist in the 1960s, musician Elvin Bishop gained wide recognition as one of America's great blues guitarists, a status he maintained into the twenty-first century. Born on October 21, 1942, to Elvin Bishop, Sr., and Mylda Kleege Bishop in Glendale, California, the younger Bishop moved to Tulsa at age ten, attending John Ross Grade School, Bell Junior High, and Will Rogers High School. In 1959 he rode a National Merit Scholarship from Will Rogers High School to the University of Chicago, where he formed an electric blues group, the Butterfield Blues Band, in 1961 with fellow college student Paul Butterfield (vocals/harmonica). After the group's 1968 album, In My Own Dream, Bishop left the group for the West Coast.

In the San Francisco Bay Area he recorded five albums, including 1975's successful Juke Joint Jump. In 1975 his Top Ten hit "Fooled Around and Fell in Love" propelled the album Struttin' My Stuff to number sixty-eight on the charts. He released several albums in the late 1970s, most notably 1977's live album, Raisin' Hell. Beginning in the mid-1980s and continuing through 2003, he recorded several critically acclaimed albums for Alligator Records. In 1998 Elvin Bishop was inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame under the blues category.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Hugh W. Foley, Jr., "Jazz from Muskogee, Oklahoma: Eastern Oklahoma as a Hearth of Musical Culture" (Ph.D. diss., Oklahoma State University, 2000). Austin Sonnier, A Guide to the Blues (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994).

Hugh W. Foley, Jr.

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