Dick Waterman, Helping to Keep the Blues Breathing

Photographer & Blues Promoter, Dick Waterman, Oxford, MS 2009

I’ve known of Dick Waterman for a number of years and got to spend half an hour with him and his wife before the opening of a Mavis Staples concert in Oxford, MS several years ago. He is the only inductee into the Blues Hall of Fame who was not a performing artist or involved in the recording industry. Dick Waterman is a music historian with a camera at the ready.

Over the decades he has taken thousands of photographs of people in popular genres of music who were, or have become, household names. He discovered and promoted new talent such as Bonnie Raitt, and rediscovered legendary talent like Son House and brought them back into public view. If the blues ever dies it won’t be because Dick Waterman didn’t spend his life trying to keep it breathing.

In the current online version of Blues Festival E Guide there is a nice interview with Waterman along with samples of his photographic works. You can see more of his photos on his website/blog.

This YouTube video is of Son House. One of the legends rediscovered by Waterman who reestablished House’s career during the folk revival of the 1960s. I love the way Son literally attacks his old National resonator guitar. This is Blues Basics 101.

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