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Norton Buffalo Dies

on November 1, 2009 No comments

By Steve Brewer
November 1, 2009

Regular news outlets don’t seem to have the story yet, but several websites are reporting that harmonica legend Norton Buffalo died this weekend.

We reported here at the Corner Booth on Friday that the singer-songwriter and harmonica virtuoso was suffering lung cancer, and cancer also had been found in his brain. He was first diagnosed with cancer in September, and had retired to his home in Paradise during treatment. He was 58.

I first became aware of Buffalo in 1979, when he appeared as one of Bette Midler’s sidemen in the movie “The Rose.” I remember coming out of the theater, thinking, “Who WAS that guy?” From there, I tracked down his records and became a fan of Buffalo and of blues harmonica in general. But it wasn’t until after I moved to Redding that I finally saw him perform live (at MarketFest a few years ago).

Norton & Roy with Bonnie Raitt & Johnny Lee Schell Luther Burbank Center • Santa Rosa, CA
Norton & Roy with Bonnie Raitt & Johnny Lee Schell
Luther Burbank Center • Santa Rosa, CA

For three decades, Buffalo was a member of the Steve Miller Band. He also sat in with everyone from Bonnie Raitt to Jerry Garcia.

But perhaps his best work was in duets with blues guitarist Roy Rogers.
Here’s a music video of them together.

Ain’t no Bread in the Breadbox

Long Hard Road

Buffalo’s Serenade

Source Copyright ©: A News Cafe
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From BRHQ - Join Bonnie on Fri, Jan 15, at 7pm PT/10pm ET for the FREE encore live stream celebration “Love You Madly - A Streaming Event for Santa Cruz Fire Relief”. Steve Earle, Bonnie Raitt & Boz Scaggs, Sammy Hagar (The Red Rocker), Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon, Joe Satriani, Los Lobos, Colin Hay and dozens more are joining to help friends and fans in Santa Cruz who need our help in recovering from 2020's historic devastating wildfires. Tune in at 2nu.gs/LoveYouMadly, donate at www.cfscc.org/loveyoumadly, and see more videos at santacruzfirerelief.org ~Get a reminder about the stream here: fb.me/e/1Sesjf1Ra #LoveYouMadly #SantaCruzFireRelief ... See MoreSee Less

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Bonnie Raitt: “One person on a guitar or slide guitar is such a mournful lonely sound, like a human voice, that can express so many different emotions from longing to sexual heat to aching and betrayal,” Raitt said in a recent telephone interview. “The guitar is a very expressive instrument in general and there was something about the starkness and soulfulness and the dark night of the soul.”
Raitt, whose father was actor and Broadway star John Raitt, said she would listen to blues albums that her brother would bring home from college, along with Mississippi John Hurt and Mississippi Fred McDowell. In a twist of fate, she ended up traveling with McDowell early in her career.

“He had a style of Delta blues guitar and slide playing and there was something about his soulfulness and the rhythm that he played and his touch on the guitar just really got me,” she said.

“It wasn’t all about your looks or having a hit single back in the late ’70s when I started otherwise I would have never gotten a shot at it because I had no interest in being a big pop mainstream star,” Raitt said. “I just played guitar and wanted to play in folk music clubs and have a small modest following.”
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