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Son Seals Dies

Chicago bluesman Son Seals died Monday, December 20 in Chicago, IL at age 62. The guitarist, vocalist and songwriter was known for his intense, razor-sharp guitar work, gruff singing style and his charismatic stage presence. Seals released 11 albums during his 30-year recording career and toured worldwide.

Seals won three W.C. Handy Blues Awards, one each in 1985, 1987 and 2001, and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1980 for his participation in the live compilation, Blues Deluxe.

Born Frank “Son” Seals in Osceola, Arkansas on August 14, 1942, he became an accomplished drummer by the time he was 13 and by the age of 18, Seals was leading his own band as a guitarist. He moved to Chicago in 1971 and began playing regular weekend gigs at The Expressway Lounge and other clubs on Chicago’s South Side, regularly playing with legends like Hound Dog Taylor, Junior Wells and Buddy Guy.

Seals’ recorded his debut album, The Son Seals Blues Band, in 1973 on Alligator Records. He followed up in 1977 with Midnight Son. After Midnight Son Seals began touring Europe regularly, and appeared in an Olympia beer commercial. He released six more albums on Alligator during the 1980s and 1990s, as well as two albums for other labels. Seals shared stages with a wide variety of blues stars, including B.B. King and Johnny Winter. Phish even covered Seals’ song “Funky Bitch” and invited Seals to join them on stage at many of their concerts.

Seals played his last live performances in October 2004 in California.

Survivors include a sister, Katherine Sims of Chicago, and 14 children.

No funeral arrangements have been announced at this time.

Originally Published