Click on the videos and take a trip to see and hear the Blues musicians from Cleveland that have been inducted in to the CBS Hall Of Fame.
Hall of Fame Inductees by Year
John J Adams
John Joseph Adams was born in Cleveland in 1951. He attended both Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland and Parma Senior High School in Parma, Ohio, where he played bass drum in band before graduating 1969. In 1975, he graduated from Cleveland State University.
John worked on computer systems for AT&T until being laid off in October 2016. John loved polka music and gave of his time and energy to raising money for many non-profit agencies. In 1978, he began volunteering at Cleveland State University, where he taught an aquatics class for people with disabilities. John also was a water safety instructor for the Red Cross, taught cardiopulmonary resuscitation and a music teacher at the West Side Irish-American Club. John volunteered his time as a member of the Kiwanis service club and the community emergency response team in his hometown of Brecksville, Ohio
John was best known for his drum beat for the Cleveland Indians. John began drumming at the age of nine and played the bass drum in the marching band. When he carried his $25.00 drum into Cleveland Stadium on August 24th, 1973, he could not have predicted the life changing commitment that would follow. John and his drum rallied the Cleveland Indians thru the 2019 season attending approximately 3700 games and only missing one game per year.
To the music community John was known for his involvement with the Cleveland Blues Society. John was a founding member, (#3 membership), and president for two terms. He was fundamental in forming the CBS Scholarship and Educational Fund and CBS Blues Cruise. The Cruise is our primary fund raiser for the scholarship program and general operating funds.
John suffered from health issues beginning in December 2020, including emergency triple bypass surgery and thyroid issues. He passed in Cleveland on January 30, 2023, at age 71. John willed his bass drum to the Guardians, and they sent a pair of his mallets to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.
On August 24, 2023, the 50th anniversary of the first game John drummed at, it was announced the bleachers at Progressive Field would be named for John starting in the 2024 season.
Michael’s love of music began at an early age listening to his parents “Hi Fi record albums” and watching artists perform on TV variety shows in the early 60’s. His thoughts of becoming part of the music he loved began when he found his grandma’s old guitar under the couch he began teaching himself how to make it talk. Allowing the curiosity of this new musical part of his life to take over, Michael Bay began his uphill journey toward his present day profession – “I just play guitar”. That journey began over 40 years ago. Asked him what he loves about being a professional guitarist and accomplishing a dream “Being blessed to be able to make a living doing what I love and the ability to share it with others.”
Along his journey he has been inspired by his mentor and teachers, Ralph Russo and Phil Rizzo. He earned a Music Performance Degree from The Modern Music School while working a full time job as a welder to make ends meet. “I hated my day job and looked forward to playing out in the evenings after work. About 30 years ago, I felt I was ready to take the risk to begin my professional music career, and quit being a welder. I had studied and practiced very hard to get to that level and haven’t looked back since.”
Popular, as well as obscure artists, have inspired Michael Bay’s melodic sound and improvisational style. His musical influences have been numerous with them beginning in country and pop bands of the 60’s to rock, jazz and blues guitar greats, Glen Campbell, Eric Clapton, Jim Hall, David Gilmore, Eddie Van Halen, Joe Pass and Ed Bickert, to name a few. Michael Bay has paid the dues of a struggling artist honing his skills toward perfection. He’s the first to admit he is far from perfect, but ask his fans who having been coming out weekly for years… “It’s like his guitar has feelings, and he takes us all along for the emotional ride”.
Accomplishments include 30 years as a professional guitarist, a highly respected influence in the NE Ohio Music Community, Best known in the Jazz and Blues scene in Cleveland, “Jam Master” at Cleveland’s longest running Blues Jam at The Parkview Nightclub (Michael and his band, The Bad Boys of Blues, began this jam in the mid 1990’s). Michael’s career included being a guest guitarist on numerous CD’s, in live performances, and special events with artists both local and international.
In the late 1980’s Michael Bay took his skills to the next level and began teaching guitar at DiFiore’s Music in Cleveland, The Broadway School of Music (satellite of Cleveland Music School Settlement) and various other music stores and colleges in the Cleveland area. 2000 brought Michael Bay the opportunity to branch out on his own and The Guitar Conservatory, under his direction, began. “I was blessed to have the parents, teachers and mentors I had who encouraged me. Teaching is my way of giving back to them and encouraging the dreams of others.”
Mike (aka Daddy Sweet Roll) was born in Cleveland on February 10th, 1953. He lived in Canton, OH from 1956 – 1971 and North Royalton from 1975 – 1988. He currently resides in Brunswick, OH since 1988, and has lived in Northeast Ohio his entire life.
Mike started playing the drums at 8 years old. He heard The Yardbirds song, “I’m a Man”, then heard the original Muddy Waters version of it and was hooked. He saw The Beatles with Ringo Starr on T.V. when he was 10 years old and knew then that he wanted to play drums full-time.
Mike learned to play the drums from listening to recordings, having private lessons and from “the street”! He was in teen bands throughout high school. He joined “The Union” when he was 16 years old and played in night clubs and at weddings. Mike received a scholarship to Memphis State University, but instead went on the road to tour with bands all over the U.S.
Mike’s main instrument is the drums, but he can also play guitar. He plays many styles of music, blues, swing, R & B, etc. His biggest musical influences were B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy Guy, Buddy Miles, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Vaughan, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert King and Albert Collins. Mike enjoys singing in the different styles of singers such as B.B. King, Otis Redding, Ray Charles, and Dean Martin.
Some of the musicians that Mike’s had the opportunity to play with are Robert Lockwood Jr., Tony Monico, Big T, Tony Lovano Sr. , Gene LaMarca, Abe LaMarca, Duke Jennings, and Glenn Schwartz. He has recorded music with Mr. Downchild (Steve Brazier), The Stokes Brothers, Vic Walkus, The Bluescasters, Gaetano Letizia and Frankie Starr. Mike also writes his own material of both originals and his arrangements of covers.
Mike has been playing gigs, drumming and often singing lead vocals for what seems forever, as he puts it! He says he’s a real “Blues man”, that he has “the life scars on his soul” to prove it and could not play The Blues without having lived the life that he’s lived! Mike humbly thanks Jesus for giving him his musical talent to sing and play the way he has for 63 years.
About Bob Frank Cleveland Magazine said, “Aside from being an accomplished guitarist, Frank boasts a encyclopedic knowledge of old-time country, blues and bluegrass music.” The Free Times added, “Frank is a first-class guitarist and vocalist.” Jazz and Blues Report added, “A sure-fingered, veteran player, skilled in a wide spectrum of black and white roots styles, Frank comes off as a performer with a strong sense of identity.” And in a recent cd review, Vintage Guitar Magazine said, “Frank is a first rate songwriter and a champion guitar player.”
A lifelong resident of Cleveland, Bob spent eighteen years as the leader of the Hotfoot Quartet, touring throughout North America and recording several albums. As a sideman he has worked with Robert Lockwood, Wallace Coleman, Candye Kane, fiddler Howard Armstrong, the Falls City Ramblers, and British bluesman Long John Baldry.
Bob has played many different kinds of music including bluegrass, old-timey, swing, rock, reggae and Caribbean, but is known these days as an expert in a wide variety of blues styles.
Between 1995 and 2019 Bob served as guitarist, vocalist, arranger, and producer for the eight-piece band Blue Lunch. Under Bob’s leadership the band recorded and released eight highly acclaimed cd recordings.
During the day Bob works through Center for Arts-Inspired Learning, performing traditional American music workshops and assembly programs for children. He has done over 3500 of these programs in schools throughout the United States and Canada.
Bob was an original board member and founding member of the Cleveland Blues Society and continues to support educational, historical, new letter author and Hall of Fame committees, producing our 5 previous Hall of Fames.
In 2018 Bob released his first solo cd, True Stories and Outrageous Lies, featuring all original compositions and Bob singing and performing on several instruments. The cd was widely acclaimed and has been nominated for several awards.
In recent years Bob has produced and written the podcast, Blues You Should Know, which is available on Amazon, Apple, Google, Spotify and other popular podcast platforms. At present there are over 36 episodes available, and the podcast has listeners on every continent, except Antarctica.
Bob and his wife Ellen reside in Sharker Hts. and have two grown children.
Alan Greene, a lifelong Clevelander, born in Cleveland on May 15, 1947 and is a founding member of the Cleveland Blues Society. Growing up in Shaker Heights and graduating from Shaker High School, he became a musician early through private trumpet lessons along with being a part of his high school band. Learning to play trumpet allowed him to learn how to be a part of a large ensemble; he learned to hear what others were playing and to add to it. Guitar was not his first instrument, a self-taught player, Alan says the guitar spoke to him with a passion.
Huge influences for Alan include Clapton, Hendrix, and of course Cleveland’s own Glenn Schwartz. They were all doing things which struck a chord with Alan. He wanted to learn how they made that sound and “What were they using to get it?”
Alan Greene has been a fixture on the Cleveland music scene since the late 1960’s and started playing blues in the early 1970’s with Jimmy Ley and the Coosa River Band. He has played with the Gang Green, The Coosa River Band, Breathless, The Gangsters of Blues, The Innocent (Trent Reznor), Mr. Stress Blues Band, Jerry Shirley’s Humble Pie, The Alan Greene Band featuring Mr. Stress and the current lineup of The Alan Greene Band featuring T.C. Odegard, Justin Butcher, Rob Luoma and Mr. Alan Greene.
Additionally, he has held court at Cebars Euclid Tavern for over 20 years, until Covid, for the Sunday Night Jam. Alan started the Cebar’s monthly Sunday jams, played on the First Cleveland Blues Society Blues Cruise and was the Winner of the Self-Produced CD for the Memphis Challenge in 2013. He was the host of O’Wow’s Blues Time Radio show untill 2021.
He has collaborated with writers to produce “Angel Love”, which was originally recorded for release by Santana for the Supernatural Album. He has produced CD’s with the Alan Greene Band, The Innocent, Mr. Stress Blues Band and played on CD’s with The Innocent and Breathless.
Alan has shared the stage with most players in this town, opened for Robert Cray, Tinsley Ellis, Savoy Brown, Kiss, Foreigner, and others.
Words do not really express or adequately describe the impact of Alan Greene’s music on the Blues Community. He has a wicked sense of humor, loves chocolate, has traveled internationally with his music, and is a masterful player who speaks and sings through his guitar playing.
Norm was born in Cleveland on March 29th, 1946 and has lived in Northeast Ohio his entire life.
The first time Norm heard Blues was in the 60’s, but he really became hooked when he heard the Mr. Stress Blues Band play at The Brick Cottage. He also heard Glenn Schwartz perform at The Rockwell Inn and says he couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
Norm bought Hoopples in 1981. Glenn Schwartz started playing there every Thursday around 1995, and around 2010 he quit playing for about a year. The thing Norm remembers Glenn saying when he returned a few years before he passed away was “It’s good to be home”.
Over the years many famous musicians stopped in at Hoopples. These included Joe Walsh and David Byrne and probably others Norm didn’t recognize. David Byrne even wrote on his blog about “the man with the magic fingers”, referring to Glenn.
Norm bought The Parkview in 1992 and started having various types of music soon after. Since he loved Blues, the music soon turned into just Blues on Saturdays.
Norm had seen The Bad Boys of Blues jam previously and when they became available, The Parkview brought them in to play regularly. Norm says it was a ‘marriage made in heaven’! They helped make The Parkview the best place to hear the Blues in Northeast Ohio. All the bands that performed there on Saturdays made it even more so, and The Bad Boys of Blues rocked on there until 2015.
One night even Michael Allman, Gregg’s son, stopped in during a jam.
Many people agree there was something about The Parkview that made it a special place to play. Over the 20 plus years The Parkview had the Blues there, they became a family, often watching young Blues players develop their musical skills, or celebrating someone’s birthday.
Born in 1936 in Morristown, Tennessee, Wallace Coleman was drawn to blues music while listening to WLAC out of Nashville. Fascinated by the new, unique sound of the harmonica, Coleman decided to teach himself the instrument. Shortly afterwards, he acquired his own harmonica and developed his talents using Wayne Raney’s harmonica book. Over the years, he taught himself to play the harmonica.
After moving to Cleveland, he began working at a bakery and practicing music on the side. He began performing in public nearly 30 years after moving to Cleveland in 1985. Coleman eventually joined blues guitarist Robert Jr. Lockwood in 1987 before beginning his solo career in 1997.
Lockwood asked Coleman to join his band after hearing him play at the Cascade Lounge. Although Coleman still wanted to finish his final two years at the bakery.
Lockwood told him to call once he did. At age 51, Coleman began touring with Lockwood throughout the United States and abroad. The musical historian Larry Nager describes Coleman as “the last of the original guys, he’s not a revivalist.” With his traditional blues style, Coleman’s four albums have received critical acclaim and he is remembered as one of the great postwar Chicago blues harmonica players.
Travis “Moonchild” Haddix was born November 26, 1938 in Hatchie Bottom, Missisippi to a family of sharecroppers. When he was 9, his family moved to Walnut, Mississippi, a “big city with a bank, a post office, a Western Auto store, and a cotton gin.” Travis was taught guitar by his father, Chalmus “Rooster” Haddix, a Delta Blues style player. Travis was also inspired by B.B. King as a youth. He attended the local “colored” high school in Walnut, where he starred in basketball.
The Haddix household was ten strong, with five boys and five girls. All the boys were musicians. Travis graduated high school in 1957, and his family moved to Milwaukee a year later, where Travis played in several bands, including one with his brother Al, who for a while played with Brother Jack Mcduff. Travis attended Marquette College in Racine,Wisconsin, where he again played basketball. He finished his degree years later at Cuyahoga Community College.
He was drafted into the Army in 1961, and became a missile track radar operator stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Fort Bliss, Texas, and Pforthiem, Germany. Playing in the service club at Pforthiem helped Travis avoid guard and KP duty. Travis was discharged from the service in 1963, and came to Cleveland, where he took a job at Severance Shopping Center as an electrician. He played with the band Chuck and the Tremblers at several clubs on Euclid Avenue, including Tito’s, The Red Carpet Lounge, The Music Box, and the Birdland Ballroom. He also played with Ernest and DL Rocco, and occasionally sat in with Eddie Baccus and Duke Jenkins.
Travis started his own band, The Now Sound, in the late ’70s, but in 1985 his band bolted for a chance to play with Johnny Taylor. The nickname “Moonchild” stuck after Travis recorded a song of the same name. The Travis Haddix Band followed, and included Marvin Young, Eli Thomas, Scanlon “Scatman” Sharp, Tyrone Pierce, and the late Frank “Silk” Smith. They appeared often at the Plush Entertainment Center on Miles Avenue, and opened for many touring acts: Clarence Carter, Artie “Blues Boy” White, Johnny Taylor, Bobby Blue Bland, Latimore, Denise LaSalle, Joe Simon, Tyrone Davis and Little Milton. The band’s first recording for Ichiban Records, “Wrong Side Out”, was released in 1988. They did five albums for Ichiban, some with Gary “BB” Coleman.
It was around this time that Travis’ songs began to get noticed by other artists such as Jimmy Dawkins, Son Seals, and Michael Burks. “Begging Business”, “Bag Lady”, and “Everything is Everything” are among his songs that have been recorded by others. “Everything is Everything” is featured in the film April’s Fool.
In 1989 Travis started Wann-Sonn Records, named for his daughters Wanda and Sonya, and he made fourteen records for his label. In 1990 Travis started touring in Europe, and he has played clubs, concerts, and festivals in 22 different countries while keeping Cleveland as his home base. His recordings and performances have received glowing reviews in publications such as Living Blues Magazine and Big City Blues, and he has been honored with numerous awards: Best Male Blues Artist, Best New Blues Artist, and in 2007 he won the Gay Rose Productions Keeping the Blues Alive Award. With insightful and sometimes humorous lyrics, and a horn-driven sound reminiscent of the Stax-Volt era, Travis Haddix remains a powerful force in the blues, and he is a true Cleveland musical icon.
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins was one of the most flamboyant and influential entertainers in the history of American pop culture. He was born Jalacy Hawkins in Cleveland on July 18, 1929, and placed in an orphanage until adopted at the age of 18 months. Jalacy learned classical piano as a youth, but dreamed of singing opera like his idol Paul Robeson. Opera didn’t work out for Jalacy, but it was a permanent influence on his stage persona.
Hawkins was also a boxer, and fought in Gold Gloves competitions before quitting high school to join the Army Air Force. He served in World War II primarily as an entertainer based in the Pacific Theater, but played service clubs around the world. He claimed to have been captured (and tortured) as a POW before he was able to engineer a chaotic and daring escape. He had a brief career as a professional boxer before he focused on starting a career as a blues piano player and singer. Jalacy Hawkins once said he got his nickname at a nightclub in Nitro, West Virginia, in 1950, from a fan who encouraged him to “Scream, baby, scream!”.
In the early 1950s Screamin’ Jay worked with artists like Tiny Grimes and Johnny Sparrow before starting his own band. It was at this time that his opera influence surfaced as he began to play in outlandish attire. 1955 was the year that Screamin’ Jay Hawkins recorded his signature song. “I Put a Spell on You” was going to be a ballad, but a rowdy, drunken late-night recording session resulted in a raw performance that featured Hawkins screaming and grunting his way to what was first banned by some radio stations as being “suggestive”, but became Hawkins’ biggest song. He later could not remember the recording session. Disc jockey Alan Freed paid Hawkins to rise from a coffin onstage to perform “Spell”, and Hawkins used the idea to create an act that included leopard skin costumes and various “voodoo” stage props, including skulls and snakes. During the 1950s he also travelled with Alan Freed’s rock ‘n’ roll revues, appeared on “American Bandstand”, and played several Cleveland venues, including Leo’s Casino.
Screamin’ Jay’s popularity soared because of “I Put a Spell on You”, but his other recordings did not approach the same level of success. He remained very popular in Europe during the 1960s and 1970s, and appeared in the film American Hot Wax (1978). In 1981, he opened for the Rolling Stones at Madison Square Garden. “I Put a Spell on You” was featured in the movie Stranger Than Paradise (1983), and Screamin’ Jay also appeared in Perdito Durango and A Rage in Harlem. In 1983, he relocated to New York City and worked for a few years with the garage rock band The Fuzztones. They appeared in the 1986 film Joey.
In the early 1990s Hawkins had a bit of a recording resurgence which included covers of several Tom Waits songs. His version of “Heart Attack and Vine” was his only British hit, reaching #42 on the U.K. singles chart in 1993. He recorded or toured during the 1990s with Dread Zeppelin, The Clash, and Nick Cave. His 1957 single “Frenzy” was included in the compilation CD “Songs in the Key of X: Music from and Inspired by the X-Files” in 1996. In 1998, he received a Pioneer Award from the Rhythm & Blues Foundation.
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins died February 12, 2000 at the Ambrose Pave clinic in the Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine following emergency surgery for an aneurysm. He was 70. His stage persona, with its props and wild costumes, directly influenced artists such as Little Richard, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson.
Nathaniel “Guitar Slim” Savage was born March 2, 1935 in Greenville, Alabama, and began to teach himself guitar at the age of nine. He was inspired by songs like “Big Leg Woman”, “Baby Please Don’t Go”, and “Good Morning Little School Girl”, which he heard on a wind-up gramophone in his mother’s house, and by his grandfather John Wesley Hunter who had a blues band in Detroit.
Nathaniel moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1951, and worked construction when he wasn’t playing music. He moved to Cleveland in 1956, continued to work construction, and played guitar behind artists like Big Maybelle, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Little Milton.
Guitar Slim joined harmonica player Tommy O’Neal’s band, then played with Charles Winston’s band. When health problems forced Winston’s retirement from the music business, Guitar Slim started his own band. In 1974, Guitar Slim and his band started playing the Cascade Lounge on Cleveland’s east side, and have been a regular feature there ever since.
Their appearances there have been a beacon for musicians like Big Richard, Pete Schmidt, Crazy Marvin, and Robert Lockwood Jr., all of whom have dropped in to share the stage with one of Cleveland’s blues legends. Guitar Slim’s current lineup features Little James on drums, who, like Guitar Slim himself, has been playing since he was nine.
Nathaniel “Guitar Slim” Savage is blessed with eight daughters, one son (Nate Jr.), nineteen grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and secure legacy in Cleveland blues history.
Big Maybelle was born Mabel Louise Smith on May 1, 1924 in Jackson, Tennessee. She played piano and sang in gospel choir as a child, but as a teen she embraced rhythm and blues. She took first prize at a Memphis talent show in 1932, and soon after her professional career began, including stints with Dave Clark’s Memphis Band and the all-female International Sweethearts of Rhythm.
In the 1940s she joined Christine Chatman’s Orchestra on piano, and in 1944 had her first recording sessions with Chatman. She recorded as a solo artist for the first time in 1947 under the name Mabel Smith for King Records, backed by Oran “Hot Lips” Page. She also sang with Tiny Bradshaw’s band from 1947 to 1950.
The decade of the 1950s was the peak of her career. In 1952, producer Fred Mendelsohn signed her to Okeh Records and coined her stage name of “Big Maybelle”. Her first Okeh recording, “Gabbin’ Blues”, hit #3 on the Billboard R&B chart, and the hits “Way Back Home” and “My Country Man” followed in 1953. Her version of “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” was produced by Quincy Jones in 1955, two years before Jerry Lee Lewis recorded it. Another hit, “Candy”, came in 1956 for Savoy Records, and was followed by appearances at the Apollo Theatre in New York City and at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, which was part of the movie Jazz on a Hot Summer Day (1960).
Big Maybelle continued to record into the 1960s, but her popularity and health both declined. Her last hit was in 1967 with her version of “96 Tears”, made famous by the rock band ? and the Mysterians. She moved to Cleveland in 1971 to live with relatives,and died here in 1972. At the time of her death, local DJ Bill Randle (of WERE) described her as “a highly respected blues singer in the Bessie Smith, Big Mama Wakefield tradition.” Her last album, The Last of Big Maybelle, was released posthumously in 1973.
Arthur “Montana” Taylor really was born in Montana. Taylor’s father ran a saloon in Butte, where Arthur was born in 1903. The family moved to Chicago in 1910 and later to Indianapolis where Arthur learned to play piano.
In 1928, Taylor made his first recordings for Vocalion including the good selling hits “Indiana Avenue Stomp” and “Detroit Rocks”.
After a move to Cleveland, Taylor was rediscovered by collector/promoter Rudi Blesch and continued his recording career as a solo performer and as accompanist to singer Bertha “Chippie” Hill, herself a veteran of the 1920’s classic blues era.
While living in Cleveland, Taylor also made several live nationwide radio broadcasts, some of which still exist and are available on the internet. Taylor lived in the Scovill Road area, the heart of Cleveland’s black community at the time.
In 1956 he participated in the now legendary Cleveland Public Library blues concert with fellow pianist (and CBS HOF member) Cow Cow Davenport.
Taylor died in Cleveland in 1957 but has recently undergone a revival of sorts among blues aficionados in Europe. Document Records has released a compilation of his recordings including several of the 1946 radio transcriptions.
The first non-performing member of the Cleveland Blues Hall of Fame, Mike Miller made a name for himself as the foremost promoter and presenter of blues music in the Midwest.
Born in 1957 in Westlake and raised in Bay Village, OH, Miller attended Gilmore Academy and received a marketing degree from Xavier U before embarking on what he then expected to be a career in restaurant and hotel management.
While managing the Holiday Inn in Richfield, OH, Miller began bringing local blues acts including Robert Lockwood, Jr. to the hotel’s lounge. Miller soon began expanding the concerts, using the hotel’s much larger ballroom, and bringing in national touring acts like Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, and Roy Buchannan.
In 1992 Miller opened the first iteration of Wilbert’s, his own club, named for Wilbert “Bill” Miller, Mike’s father.
Wilbert’s soon became known nationally and internationally as one of the most important venues for blues. At first, open 7 nights a week, nearly every significant touring blues performer made at least one stop at Wilbert’s. According to Miller, “The only two I was never able to bring in were Jimmie Vaughn and John Lee Hooker. I always thought, ‘if I could get those two, I’d be done’”.
For several years Robert Lockwood, Jr. performed weekly at Wilbert’s. Lockwood eventually jumped ship to perform at another club, but he and Miller remained friends.
Mike counts over 100 Grammy winners having performed at Wilbert’s.
In 2003, the club moved to its second and most recent location on Huron Road. A fire forced the closing of Wilbert’s in 2020.
Born in Cleveland in 1952, Ray grew up in the Glenville neighborhood and attended Glenville High School. While still in school he learned the bass guitar and sang in neighborhood street-corner vocal groups with his even then extraordinarily deep, bass voice.
In 1974, He joined the Mr. Stress Blues Band and remained with the group through the Brick Cottage and Euclid Tavern years, the group’s most popular period.
Ray moved on to play with Aces and Eights, King Solomon and Princess Ladia, Tom Shaper and others and quickly developed a reputation as the “go-to” bass player in town, owing this to his impeccable sense of time, rhythm, pacing, and taste. Raymond is often sought out as a session player for recording musicians and has appeared on dozens of recordings made in the Cleveland Area.
In addition to performing and recording, Ray is also a teacher and a founding artist with Roots of American Music. He’s been a member of Blue Lunch since 1996.
In 1990? Raymond and his wife Maureen were the subjects of an extensive Plain Dealer article applauding them for having adopted four bi-racial special-needs children. In total there are 4 Stepchildren, 4 adopted, 10 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.
“Hollywood Slim” (Greg Lucic) was born July 13, 1950, and passed away May 24, 2019, almost 45 years to the date that he and his brother John Lucic formed their first band in May of 1974, with Greg on vocals and harmonica and John on guitar.
Greg/”Hollywood” and John’s bands had various names and various line ups over the years. In 1976 Greg started habitually wearing dark glasses and had recently lost some weight. One of his friends who hadn’t seen Greg in a while came to see the band and affectionately called Greg, “A Hollywood Slim lookin’ Mother F***er!” The name stuck! From 1978 on, the band was known as The Hollywood Slim Band. Some of the first music the band learned was songs by Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter Jacobs, Robert Jr. Lockwood, and James Cotton. As years progressed, the band also began to learn songs from the swing styles of groups like Louis Jordan and The Nat King Cole Trio.
In addition to being a musician Greg/”Hollywood” had a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and he worked for 30 years as a welder/fabricator.
The Hollywood Slim Band played in bars and restaurants in Northeastern Ohio for 45 years. “Hollywood Slim” was friends and acquaintances with many fans and fellow musicians, and he loved that life. Greg “Hollywood Slim” Lucic and his brother John played two gigs the weekend before he passed. He would have been so pleased to receive the recognition of the Cleveland Blues Society.
“Crazy” Marvin Braxton
Oh he’s crazy all right, just not in a bad way. He’s Crazy Marvin and he’s just crazy enough to make you laugh and show you a good time. He plays the harmonica, sings, cracks jokes, lets loose a wild, cackling laugh that would make a hyena blush.
It’s not hard to find Marvin. He’s either playing with his own band, the Blues Express, or sitting in at a local jam. It’s not hard to get Marvin to get up and play, it’s what he loves to do. It’s probably harder to get him to stop.
Marvin Braxton, was born on MAY 30, 1943. His dad, Charles Braxton was a supervisor for the city, who also played boogie woogie piano, ran an occasional after-hours spot, and, according to Marvin, cooked up a terrific batch of home-brew every so often.
Marvin’s mother, Laura, confined her piano playing to the church.
Marvin grew up in the Miles Park section of South-East Cleveland. Miles Park, once known as Miles Heights, had been a separate community with a mostly African-American population that, in 1929, elected the first Black mayor in Ohio.
Marvin had another name for his neighborhood.
Marvin attended Beehive Elementary school and then Nathan Hale Jr. High, but never went on to high school. He didn’t want to go to school; he wanted to work. And he wanted to work with horses.
He started at Thistledown Racetrack, now in North Randall, then moved on to Cranwood and Northfield Park racetracks. He kept on moving.
Marvin was, in the parlance of the Racetrack world, a Hot Walker. The primary job of a hot walker is to walk the horses on a lead after races or training sessions to cool them down. Though there are mechanical devices that can do this, a good hot walker can make a difference by helping to spot problems, and a good hot walker will know how and when to vary the horse’s cooldown speed and walking direction. The hot walker is also usually responsible for cleaning and grooming the horses after racing or training sessions.
A good hot walker can get work at any racetrack. They usually stay at one track for the length of the racing season, then move on to another track for the season at that track.
Tracing Marvin’s musical career isn’t easy. He moved constantly, following the different race track seasons around the country, but he generally marks the beginning of his music career at Cleveland’s Leo’s Casino, where he won a contest. The prize was $100, which he didn’t get, but the contest did result in his going to New York City, where all kinds of things began to happen for him.
He won the amateur talent night contest at the Apollo twice, and got himself a job delivering the internal mail at the CBS building.
At that time Marvin was calling himself “Little Jimmy Reed” or just “harmonica”, and was hanging around with a lot of very famous, very important musicians.
One of these was the legendary Sylvester, “Sly” Stone, of Sly and the Family Stone. In late 1969, Sly and his manager David Kapralik, talked A&M records into letting Sly have his own record label, Stone Flower. The idea was that Sly would produce the records and play all of the instruments on them, while promoting new vocal talent, who’s names would be on the record. Stone Flower’s first two releases were by the group “Little Sister” which did indeed include Sly’s younger sister Vaetta, or “Vet” as she was usually called. Their first record, “I’m The One” Parts one and two reached as high as number 22 on the charts.
The next group to record was called 6IX and included Marvin Braxton on vocals and harmonica.
With 6IX Marvin opened shows for Sly and the Family Stone and often performed as backup band for Little Sister.
They say you should hitch your wagon to a star, and Sly Stone certainly was a star. But he went nova very quickly and soon burned out.
Fortunately, Marvin a lot of other very important friends.
One of those friends was Jimi Hendrix. On September 25, 1969, Jimi invited Marvin to record two songs with him at the Record Plant on 44th street in New York. The recorded “Drinking Wine, Sipping Time” and “Villanova Junction”. The songs were never released commercially, but are occasionally found one of the hundreds of Hendrix bootlegs that pop up periodically.
For a while Marvin lived in in Greenwhich Village’s legendary Chelsea hotel.
Marvin’s next move was West.
Eventually, Marvin decided that his traveling days were through and he returned to Cleveland where he met and married his first and only wife, Rita, settling in with her and her large family in their house in Glenville.
Marriage induced Marvin to change at least some of his ways.
He joined the band Dave and the Blues Express. After Dave’s death the band became Crazy Marvin and the Blues Express, and some of those musicians are still in the band today.
Marvin never meant to give up traveling completely. His harmonica and his blues have taken him overseas twice.
At age 70, Crazy Marvin may have slowed down just a bit, but he hasn’t completely forgone insanity. He’s dropped a few of the more outlandish costumes but still enjoys showing off his collection of wild hats.
And he still plays the blues.
Collinwood, on the East side of Cleveland, OH is, and has always been a tough and solid working class neighborhood. Built around the huge New York Central rail yard, Collinwood grew and then declined along with the railroad.
The 1940’s were a boom time for the railroad, and for Collinwood. It was there and then that two remarkable musicians were born and grew up: Glenn and Gene Schwartz.
Glenn & The two brothers grew up in the blue-collar heart of a Cleveland that was itself the heart of American industry. Glenn & Gene’s dad worked at Republic Steel, their mom in an office of a business forms company.
At an early age, Glenn’s parents recognized that he had interests that were something outside of the close knit Collinwood world.
At age 10 in 1950, Glenn’s dad bought him a new guitar, a good one, a Gibson ES-125, and lessons to go along with it.
Glenn learned fast.
At age 11 he was good enough to enter a music contest at Baldwin-Wallace college. Glenn won first prize with a nearly perfect score.
Growing up in Collinwood in the 1950s, Glenn stood out for his abilities as an artist, a musician and as a drag racer.
Glenn played in polka bands, rock & roll bands, wedding bands, and blues bands, constantly and obsessively practicing his instrument, honing his craft. Playing with the Pilgrims he wore a wig. At that time long hair didn’t go over very well in Collinwood.
The Army called.
Glenn trained as a medic, and was shipped to Germany.
Army service in Germany was a lot different for a medic than service in Vietnam would have been. There were no casualties. So Glenn started playing in bands.
After his discharge in 1966 Glenn returned to Cleveland. His playing had reached a high level. He began playing with the Mr. Stress Blues band.
He was also playing with the first version of the James Gang. In 1967 he got a call from his friend Dewey Dorrow, urging him to come out to California.
With Pacific Gas & Electric, soon to known more simply as PG&E, Glenn quickly began to develop a reputation. He was hot, admirers included Jimi Hendrix, and even Duane & Gregg Allman, who offered Glenn a position in the Allman Brothers band before the job was offered to Dickie Betts. Glenn’s star rose even higher when PG&E’s recording of Are You Ready, began to climb up the charts.
Glenn had embraced the 1960’s Rock & Roll lifestyle with everything that went with it. But he wasn’t happy.
By June of 1968, despite all his success and renown for his guitar playing, Glenn wanted something more. He wanted to change. On a warm June evening he took a walk down Sunset Avenue that would change his life forever.
Glenn stayed in PG&E for another two years, but his newfound religion had changed his relationship with the rest of the band.
In 1970 he returned to Cleveland.
Shortly after his return to Cleveland, Glenn put together the first Schwartz Brothers band, and had a weekly gig at Faragher’s Back room in Cleveland Heights. Glenn’s backsliding began to bother him. He did six months in the workhouse for spousal abuse.
Larry Hill convinced Glenn to move to a Christian commune near Orwell, OH where Glenn became the lead guitarist in the All Saved Freaks band, the outreach arm of the farm’s ministry. Glenn stayed at the farm for seven years, recording four albums and touring throughout the country.
As the Reverend Hill’s hold over the group became stronger and the group became more cult-like, Bill and Ann, Glenn’s parents became more and more concerned. They arranged with Ted Patrick, the noted deprogrammer, to have Glenn kidnapped…and deprogrammed. It didn’t work.
Glenn returned to the farm where he recorded “Brainwashed” an album filled with furious guitar playing and songs telling the story of his experience with Patrick.
In 1978 or ’79, he’s not sure which, Glenn finally left the farm and returned to the family home in Euclid where he and Gene live today. Despite periods of what he calls “backsliding”Glenn has fought to remain true to his faith while continuing with his first passion: guitar playing.
In the early 1990’s Glenn & Gene began a series of Thursday night shows at Major Hooples, a nightclub in Cleveland’s flats area. Glenn & Gene’s fans regularly packed the house to hear Glenn’s firey playing and even firier preaching.
Glenn’s religion is harsh, severe, and uncompromising. It might be described as Calivinism on steroids. To the uninitiated, a Schwartz Bros. show can be a bit…daunting-
Today, in their seventies, the Brothers continue to play with a fire and energy that would be impressive for musicians 50 years younger. Now, with an added monthly gig at Collinwood’s Beachland Ballroom, there’s no sign of that fire going out.
While Glenn was charting his own difficult course through music and life, younger brother Gene was forging his own unique and remarkable career.
Born three years after Glenn, Gene, like Glenn, grew up in the Collinwood neighborhood of Cleveland, attended Nottingham Elementary, then Collinwood High for a short while until the family moved to Euclid, OH in 1958. Not liking Euclid High very much Gene left school in the 11th grade.
What Gene liked was cars. He liked working on them, painting them, fixing them, modifying them, driving them, and most of all: racing them, more specifically drag racing.
He took a job at Keith Weigel Motors working in the body shop, and stayed there until the dealership closed twelve years later.
Currently, Gene owns four cars, all of which are extensively modified; a 1967 Chrysler, a 1962 E-Gasser, A Fleetline Chevy Fastback, and his primary racing vehicle, the 1952 Chevy 2 door hard top, bought new by his dad Bill, in 1952, and given to Gene when he was 15.
It is the ’52 Chevy that Gene drives and races to this day and with which he held the NHRA record between 1964 and 1967. He also held the NASCAR Street Eliminator record in 1965.
But we’re interested in Gene as a bass player, a musician, and just how that came to happen.
It was Dave Griggs who convinced blues legend Robert Lockwood to start playing again. In 1970 Lockwood began appearing with the Dave Griggs Blues band, but soon looked to put his own band together.
Gene and Robert became so close, as musicians and as friends, that Robert didn’t want to perform unless Gene was there.
Together, sometimes as a duo, and sometimes with the rest of the Lockwood band, Gene and Robert played everywhere. Oh, and at every performance, Gene wears one of the Amish style flat-brimmed hats he first bought out in Middlefield, OH.
In November of 2006, at the age of 91, Robert Lockwood, Jr suffered a cerebral aneurysm and a stroke and passed away shorty afterward. Since then, Gene has mostly limited his playing to his performances with Glenn.
The Schwartz Brothers are a uniquely Cleveland institution. Two brothers both highly accomplished individually, and joining together to create the kind of of almost subliminal musical connection some say is only possible between brothers; combining hell-fire preaching with jaw-dropping musical virtuosity
Dave Griggs (2013) (No Bio information available)
Hall of Fame 2009
Charles “Cow Cow” Davenport was a pioneer of blues piano. He was born April 26, 1894 in Anniston, Alabama, and began playing piano at age 12.
His mother was a church organist, but Charles’ parents frowned on his fascination with ragtime and sent him to the Alabama Theological Seminary, where he was expelled in 1911 for playing ragtime at a church function.
Davenport’s career began in the 1920s with Banhoof’s Traveling Carnival, and his early career was mostly in carnivals and vaudeville with TOBA (Theater Owners’ Booking Association).
His walking bass lines combined with his ragtime influences helped to create the style known as “barrelhouse” or “boogie-woogie”, a term that Davenport claimed to have invented in 1924.
He had his first hit on both piano rolls and 78s with “Cow Cow Boogie”, one of the most popular boogie-woogie piano tunes ever recorded. “Cow Cow Boogie” was written by Benny Carter, Gene de Paul, and Don Raye, and combined two of that era’s fads- the “Western” song and big band/boogie-woogie. The track was written for the Abbot and Costello movie “Ride ‘Em Cowboy”.
Later in the 20s, Davenport worked with singers Dora Carr and Ivy Smith, and was a talent scout for Brunswick and Vocalion Records. Throughout the 20s he was based in Birmingham, which was a hub of blues piano activity at the time.
He moved to Cleveland in 1930, continued working with TOBA, and recorded with the Gennett label, which was owned by the Starr Piano Company and folded due to the Depression.
He suffered a stroke in 1938 which affected his playing, but jazz pianist Art Hodes helped him to remain active as a singer until he recovered enough to play again.
A new version of “Cow Cow Boogie” by the Freddie Slack Orchestra, with seventeen-year-old Ella Mae Morse on vocals, sparked a boogie-woogie craze in 1942, and revived interest in Davenport. His attempted comeback, which included appearing on the bill with Duke Ellington at the Masonic Temple on East 36th and Euclid Avenue on January 28, 1950, was hampered by illness, and “Cow Cow” Davenport passed away in Cleveland from heart problems on December 2, 1955.
Robert Lockwood Jr. was born in Turkey Scratch, Arkansas on March 27, 1915. He was the godson and musical heir to Robert Johnson, who is considered the greatest of the delta bluesmen.Robert Lockwood Jr.
Lockwood’s recording career began in the 1930s with the Bluebird label in Chicago, but he then returned to Arkansas to start his longtime association with Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller), and in 1941 the two were featured on the first King Biscuit Time radio show on KFFA in Helena. The rest of the 40s saw Lockwood playing in cities such as Memphis, St. Louis, and Chicago. In 1950, Lockwood settled in Chicago and became a session musician for Chess Records, accompanying artists like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. He also recorded as a solo artist for other labels, including Decca.
In 1961, Lockwood moved to Cleveland, and during ensuing decades played many area venues, while continuing to record as a solo artist, and these years produced some of his best recorded work.
During his final years, he and his band the “All-Stars” were a fixture on Wednesday nights at Fat Fish Blue in Downtown Cleveland. The “All-Stars” still carry on this Wednesday tradition.
Robert Lockwood Jr. passed away at the age of 91 on November 21, 2006.
Robert Lockwood Jr.’s career was legendary, his accomplishments legion. Here is a brief sample:
Two W.C Handy awards, a National Heritage Fellowship award, one Grammy award, two Grammy nomination, an honorary doctorate (from Case Western Resereve University), an honorary degree (from Cleveland State University), induction into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame, the Delta Blues Hall of Fame, and now the Cleveland Blues Society Hall of Fame.
“Bull Moose” Jackson was a singer and saxophone player prominent in the 1940s and 1950s. He was born Benjamin Clarence Jackson in Cleveland on April 22, 1919, and he was a musical prodigy. He soloed in church choir at age 3, began studying the violin at 4, and had started to play the saxophone by the age of 5.
He started his first band, The Harlem Hotshots, while still a student at Central High School, and was soon playing in many Midwest lakeshore communities, becoming especially popular in Buffalo.
Ben was recruited in 1943 by bandleader Lucky Millinder, who saw him performing in Cleveland. Jackson began touring with The Lucky Millinder Orchestra, whose members gave him the nickname “Bull Moose”. One night in Texas a scheduled singer failed to show up. Millinder called “Bull Moose” out of the sax section to sing, and “The Moose” was off and running.
In 1946, Millinder helped Jackson sign a solo recording deal with Syd Nathan, who was expanding his Cincinnati-based country and western label King Records. Over the next several years, Bull Moose Jackson recorded almost every style of popular music and became King Records’ top artist.
He named his new combo the Buffalo Bearcats based on his popularity in that city, and they became one of the top money-grossing acts of the era.
Jackson’s first notable effort was “I Know Who Threw the Whiskey in the Well”, a follow-up to the Lucky Millinder song “Who Threw the Whiskey in the Well?”.
Bull Moose had his first big hit in 1947 with “I Love You, Yes I Do”, which was a huge national success, and widely accepted as the first R&B single to sell a million copies. It held the #1 spot on the R&B chart for 3 weeks.
He had several more hits in 1948 including “All My Love Belongs to You” and “Little Girl Don’t Cry” which helped solidify his reputation as a crooner of ballads. That same year he appeared in the film “Boarding House Blues” with Lucky Millinder. In 1949 He recorded “Why Don’t You Haul Off and Love Me”, considered the first hit country and western song by a black singer.
The 1950s brought more shows with the Bearcats and as a solo artist with revues featuring other well-known singers. Jackson’s hit songs, such as “Nosy Joe”, began to show a suggestive, even raunchy streak. One of his lesser-known songs of this period, “Big Ten Inch Record”, has been re-discovered by artists of later eras. Other hits for Jackson in the 50s included “Big Fat Mamas Are Back in Style” and “I Never Loved Anyone but You”.
Bull Moose’s star began to fade in the late 50s as popularity shifted to rock ‘n’ roll.
By 1964, he had moved to Washington, D.C. and was working for a catering service, then in the 1970s he became a food service administrator for Howard University. During this time his playing dates were primarily private engagements.
That changed in 1983 when Carl Grefenstette, leader of a Pittsburgh bar band called The Flashcats, was put in touch with Jackson through a mutual acquaintance. The Flashcats had been playing some of Bull Moose’s songs, and Grefenstette persuaded Jackson to appear with the band. The Moose became an “overnight sensation” in Pittsburgh, playing many sold-out dates. A regional hit “Get Off the Table, Mable- the Two Dollars is for the Beer” was followed by an LP entitled “Moosemania”. The rebirth of Moose’s career led to shows in Los Angeles, at New York’s Carnegie Hall, and a European tour with Johnny Otis.
Bill Miller was born on January 1, 1943, and grew up on Cleveland’s east side, where he was exposed to blues, jazz, and rock and roll at an early age, and developed a special interest in the blues.
He bought his first harmonica at Jack Epstein’s music store on Prospect Avenue.
The first Mr. Stress band debuted in 1966, and by 1968 the band was playing in other cities as well as Cleveland. The band shared the stage with many top rock bands such as Cream. Capitol Records offered the band a contract in 1969 which the band turned down due to the deal’s unfavorable terms.
By the 70’s, The Mr. Stress Blues Band had found a home at The Euclid Tavern near Case Western Reserve University. During this decade, Mr. Stress was one of only a few local acts playing blues. The band remained a fixture at The Euclid Tavern for 17 years.
The Mr. Stress Band, which featured many of the area’s finest blues talent during its time is no more, but as of the date of this award, Bill is still very active on the Cleveland blues scene as a featured performer with The Alan Greene Band.
1983- Named one of Cleveland Magazine’s “Most Interesting People”
Mr. Stress Blues Band selected Best Blues Band in Northeast Ohio 4 years in a row
LIVE AT THE EUCLID TAVERN