R&B singer/guitarist SNOOKS EAGLIN has died, aged 72. Eaglin, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008, was hospitalised in New Orleans, Louisiana last week (Feb.09, 2009). He passed away on Wednesday (Feb. 18, 2009) after suffering a heart attack.
Losing his sight not long after his first birthday, Eaglin was a self-taught musician who learned to play the guitar by listening to the radio. He became a fixture in the New Orleans jazz and R&B music scenes over the last 50 years, counting platinum-selling musicians Eric Clapton, Sir Paul McCartney and Robert Plant - and local artists including pianist Allen Toussaint - among his fans. Paying tribute to Eaglin, Toussaint tells the New York Times, "He played with a certain finger style that was highly unusual. He was unlimited on the guitar. Folks would assume, "I can do this or I can do that", but Snooks wouldn't. There was nothing he couldn't do. It was extraordinary." Eaglin was scheduled to perform at April's (09) New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. His survivors include his wife of more than 30 years, Dorothea Eaglin, and a daughter.
A mainstay of the New Orleans jazz and blues scene, Snooks was considered a guitar hero by many. One of his many sessions included working on the first Wild Magnolias album, with the late keyboardist WILLIE TEE and his group THE GATURS. The Wild Magnolias themselves were a group of Mardi Gras Indians led by Bo Dollis, and they handle the vocals and percussion. This track is a funky version of a traditional New Orleans song, with a reggae feel. Note the excellent guitar licks of Snooks, and bass playing by Julius Farmer.
Song : "Meet The Boys (On The Battlefront)" by The Wild Magnolias
From the CD "THE WILD MAGNOLIAS" (Barclay) (recorded 1973, released 1974) ; track was not on original LP, but on CD reissue
The Wild Magnolias (Bo Dollis, Monk Boudreaux, 'Gator June' Johnson, 'Crip' Adams, 'Quarter Moon' Tobias, 'Gate' Johnson, 'Bubba' Scott, James Smothers) : vocals, percussion
The New Orleans Project : rhythm section (basically The Gaturs with Snooks Eaglin)
Willie Tee : keyboards, percussion, background vocals
Julius Farmer : bass
Fird 'Snooks' Eaglin : guitar
Larry Panna : drums
Alfred 'Uganda' Robers : congas