Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page
We've heard from blues harpist Bob Corritore that Chicago bluesman Alex "Easy Baby" Randle passed away on September 25, 2009 from pneumonia. The blues harpist was 75 years old.
Born in Memphis, Randle lived in Mississippi for several years before returning to the Bluff City. He picked up on the harmonica from his grandmother and uncle, and began playing professionally as a teen in and around the Memphis area. Randle would become friends with future legends like Chester Burnett (a/k/a Howlin' Wolf) and James Cotton while playing juke-joints and gambling houses in the Southeast.
Randle moved to Chicago in 1956, and worked as a mechanic while pursuing a career as a bluesman at night, singing and blowing the harp on the city's stages for decades. Randle performed at the Chicago Blues Festival in 1998, 2000, and 2003, and during his lengthy career he released two albums - Sweet Home Chicago Blues in 1977 and If It Ain't One Thing, It's Another in 2001. Performances by Randle also appeared on a handful of harp-oriented compilation albums, and a number of previously unreleased songs are said to have been recorded by Randle during the 1970s.
"Easy Baby" had performed sporadically over the past few years, but Randle will be missed by blues harp aficionados who appreciated him as one of the last of the old-school Chicago blues harmonica masters.
By Reverend Keith A. Gordon