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Sippie Wallace Birthday Celebration

Sipple sings with all her soul

on December 5, 1982 No comments
By Susan Makuch
Sippie Wallace belts out a song Friday night at the Michigan Theatre.
© Deborah Lewis

IT WAS A happy birthday for Sippie Thank God!

The Birthday Celebration for Sippie Wallace Friday night at the Michigan Theatre was a festive occasion for everyone, including the anxious audience.

The evening began with Jim Dapogny and his Chicago Blues Band. The opening number, “At the Jazz Band Ball,” set the ball in motion. The crowd was noticeably ready for some real jazz and blues, and the lineup did not disappoint.

Dr. John teased the audience by failing to appear on cue. It may have been unplanned, but the delay Increased their anticipation. When he finally ambied onto the stage, the crowd roared. He satisfied their expectations with a raspy vocal version of “Such a Night.” He accompanied himself with a nlmble-flngered piano that was hard to beat. On his next number, Dr. John was joined by a set of bongos for a stirring rendition of “Right Place, Wrong Time.”

The slight-of-build young woman that was next on the impressive blues bill was Bonnie Raitt. It took a few minutes to recognize her, however. Gone were the long tresses and faded blue jeans. On this birthday night Bonnie debuted a new visual image: shortly cropped hair, shocking pink tights, a sky blue elf-like mini skirt, and black leather boots. Something changed outside, but it was the same old blues-belter Bonnie on the inside.
She commented on her appearance when she told the audience, “The Plasmatlcs gave us a run for the money yesterday, so I thought I’d dress like her (Wendy O Williams) so you guys won’t feel like you’ve missed anything.”

Well, this crowd didn’t miss anything from Bonnie. She began with a heartfelt song of her own, “Love Has No Pride.” Then there was wild applause for “I’d Give Anything to See You Again.” When she announced “This song’s for Sippie,” everyone roared. Bonnie did Justice to a Sippie cover, “Special Delivery.” It was “one of the first songs I ever heard Sippie sing,’’ Bonnie recalled.

Finally, it was time for the birthday girl. After 84 years, Sippie still knows how to shout a song. Clad in a white gown and cowboy hat, Sippie stood by Jim Dapogny’s piano and belted, “Why Don’t You Come Over to My House Baby, Ain’t Nobody Home But Me.” Her strong voice reverberated the auditorium and made her loyal followers scream with joy.

The “Texas Nightingale” did everything but shirp. Her style almost made you feel as though you were in a small blues dive somewhere, listening to Sippie sing just to you. Her slinky, sultry version of “I Want You and I Need You,” drove the crowd into hysterics. Sippie was singing the blues; real heart-warming blues. For the last few songs, Sippie was joined by the entire lineup. She sang a duet with Bonnie, “Don’t Advertise Your Man.” Young and old finally came together, and the blues will never be the same.

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Bonnie Raitt performs “Me and the Boys” with The Bump Band, chats with Dave, is later joined by Sippie Wallace, who then performs “Women Be Wise” with Bonnie and Dr. John. Sippie tends to sing “shit” instead of “shout,” and it’s not edited out of the broadcast – Late Night with David Letterman – April 27, 1982


Source: © Copyright The Michigan Daily
Sippie Wallace Birthday Celebration – Michigan Theatre, Ann Arbor, Michigan – Dec.3, 1982
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Sippie Wallace and Bonnie Raitt Prove That Blues Birds of a Feather Can Flock Together

on April 12, 1982 No comments

By Carl Arrington, Maryanne George

Sippie Wallace, 83, is a stout black woman whose heyday as a blues singer was in the 1920s. Bonnie Raitt, 32, is a lean, fast-living rock ‘n’ roller who travels in WASPy music circles in L.A. Sippie is a believing Baptist whose friends and contemporaries have included Fats Waller and Louis Armstrong. Bonnie, more devout in her liberal politics than in religion, numbers among her friends Jane Fonda, Jackson Browne and Graham Nash.

They have in common dazzling dimples, red hair (Sippie’s is store-bought), a fierce feeling for the blues and a spunky attitude summed up by a line from Mighty Tight Woman, a song written by Wallace that both have recorded: “There is nothing, nothing that I fear.” Raitt and Wallace are also close friends. “We are two souls who have known each other before,” says Bonnie. “It’s a connection that transcends age and space. She’s more my own grandma than my natural grandmother.” Sippie reciprocates, “I love Bonnie.”

The friendship will soon be reflected in the marketplace. Bonnie has a scorcher LP called Green Light that’s doing wheelies up the charts. Sippie, Wallace’s first recording in 16 years, has set off an industry buzz before its late-April release. Wallace has provided Bonnie with tunes over the years; Bonnie sat in on three tracks in Sippie’s new album.

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Raitt and band tough to beat

on April 29, 1980 No comments

Raitt and band tough to beat

by DAVID WINKELSTERN – Journal Correspondent


There were about 1,500 empty seats in the Michigan State University Auditorium Monday night. That meant that at least that many people missed one of the better shows to come to town in a long time.

Bonnie Raitt and her band gave a performance that will be tough to beat. When she spoke, her voice sounded coarse. When Raitt sang, the sound was pure, clean and sweet. If the concert featured only her forceful vocals, it would have been enough. Together with a five-piece band that played with definite authority, it was a show to remember.

THE OPENING group was no easy act to follow either. 81-year-old Sippie Wallace was escorted to a microphone on the stage. She used a cane and she leaned on the piano while she sang. Wallace first recorded in 1923.
Many of the blusey tunes she sang last night were from the twenties. A fine Dixieland style band in matching tuxedos gave the Auditorium more of a ballroom atmosphere.
Wallace’s voice and presence had real class.

There is no question that Sippie Wallace has been around a long time. About ten years ago, she was having an influence on Bonnie Raitt. The two sang together at the end of the opening set.
That first appearance by Raitt was enough to tease the audience.
Wearing tight designer jeans and a low cut black glitter top, she looked and sounded good.

RAITT RETURNED to the stage with a collection of musicians as good as any you could find anywhere. When they finally left after a third encore, those that did make the show had to go home satisfied.
The songs and Raitt’s singing sometimes rocked and sometimes soothed.
A tasty version of Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” or the send-the-chills-down-the spine rendition of the classic “Runaway” were both worth the price of a ticket.
Raitt’s slide guitar work was hot stuff. It did not seem to matter that John Lee Hooker never did show up for an opening set of his own.
The music and performance oozed a feeling of quality.


Source: © Copyright Lansing State Journal Archive
Lansing State Journal – April 29, 1980

Bonnie Raitt to appear this month

Country blues singer Bonnie Raitt comes to the MSU Auditorium Monday, April 28, for an 8 p.m. show.

Raitt’s roots can be traced back to such influences as her Broadway singer father, John Raitt and her early attraction to the country blues music of John Hurt, Muddy Waters and John Hammond. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Bonnie headed east for college, entering Cambridge in 1967 when venues like the Club 47 nourished a healthy folk and blues scene. It was in Philadelphia that Bonnie first took her guitar and distinctive blues interpretations onstage.

© Michael Dobo

Initial success led to club engagements in New York, at Philadelphia’s Main Point, and at the Philadelphia Folk Festival. Thanks to the introductory efforts of Dick Waterman, who’s managed most of the blues musicians during the past 10 years, she learned from Son House, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Arthur Crudup, Howlin’ Wolf and her special mentor, Sippie Wallace. Bonnie signed with Warner Brothers in 1971.

Fans initially attracted by Bonnie’s blues performances weren’t dismayed with her debut album, Bonnie Raitt. The program included traditional material from Robert Johnson and Sippie Wallace as well as performances by Chicago bluesmen Junior Wells and A.C. Reed. The sessions were held in a garage on Lake Minnetonka, Minn., and as noted in the liner notes, “reflects the difference between music made among friends living together in the country and the kind squeezed out trying to beat city traffic and studio clocks.” Produced by Willie Murphy and engineered by Sylvia and Dave Ray of Koerner, Ray and Glover fame, the album also covered a range of styles that would become a Raitt tradition — a mixture of country blues, early R&B, interpretations of material by new songwriters as well as originial compositions.

It was with her next album, 1972’s Give it Up, that Bonnie began to get serious favorable notice. The album was recorded with members of the Woodstock and Cambridge musical communities, and brought to light the relatively undiscovered songwriting talents of Eric Kaz, Jackson Browne, Chris Smither and Joel Zoss.

1973’s Takin’ My Time brought Bonnie back to the West Coast to work with new found friends Lowell George and Bill Payne from Little Feat, Van Dyke Parks and John Hall of Orleans, who produced the album. On this album, Bonnie introduced some new elements into her repertoire — a salty calypso tune by Calypso Rose, Randy Newman’s “Guilty” and a bluesy rendition of Mose Allison’s “Everybody’s Cryin’ Mercy,” featuring Taj Mahal on harmonica.

1974’s Streetlights brought Bonnie to the uptown R&B talents of producer Jerry Ragovoy, who assembled the best New York session men on a variety of new tunes by New York songwriters. The album featured some fine interpretations of material by James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Allen Toussaint and John Prine.

Home Plate was recorded in L.A. during 1975, where she has lived since Takin’ My Time. A reunion of sorts with the musicians from that album, it combines the production talents of Paul A. Rothchild with her growing family of musicians and friends. Along with new tunes by Toussaint and Kaz, much of the material was written and custom arranged for the album by the musicians themselves — among them, John Hall, Fred Tackett, Bill Payne and J.D. Souther.

For Sweet Forgiveness, Bonnie and Paul Rothchild teamed up again, utilizing the close knit feel of Bonnie and her touring band as the focus of the sessions. Along with works by Browne, Kaz, and Karla Bonoff is an exciting revamped version of Del Shannon’s “Runaway,” featuring Norton Buffalo on harp and Mike McDonald from the Doobie Brothers helping out on vocals. Her latest album, The Glow, was recorded in ’79.

Tickets for the concert are $7.50 and $8.50 and are available at Sounds and Diversions, WhereHouse Records, Campus Corners II and the Union ticket office.


Source: © Copyright The State News
The State News – April 15, 1980
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