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Little Joe Blue (September 23, 1934 April 22, 1990) was an American blues singer, and guitarist.

Career little joe blue

Born Joseph Valery, Jr. in Vicksburg, Mississippi, his music were heavily influenced by the work of Louis Jordan, Joe Liggins, and B. B. King. He played at the San Francisco Blues Festival in 1974, made later trips to Europe in 1982, and appeared at the Chicago Blues Festival in 1986.

He did not turn to music as a profession until the late 1950s, when he was well into his 20s, forming his band the Midnighters in Detroit, Michigan at the end of the decade. By the early 1960s, Valery had moved to Reno where he began recording as an adjunct to his performances in local clubs, before moving on to Los Angeles, California. He recorded for various record labels, including Kent and Chess' Checker Records division during the early to mid 1960s, and never entirely escaped the criticism that he was a B. B. King imitator, which dogged him right into the 1980s. The style that King popularized also happened to suit Valery, however, and he gained some credibility in 1966 when he racked up a modest hit in 1966 with the song "Dirty Work Is Going On," which has since become a blues standard. He had extended stints with Jewel Records and Chess from the late 1960s into the early 1970s, and recorded until the end of the 1980s.

There is a CD of his work in print, the Evejim Records Little Joe Blue's Greatest Hits, a reissue of two LPs, I'm Doing Alright and Dirty Work Going On, that he cut in the 1980s. His "Standing on the Threshold," featuring a powerful vocal performance and some beautifully soaring horns behind some lean, mean guitar and piano, also appears on Jewel Spotlights the Blues, Vol. 1.

On Little Joe Blue's Greatest Hits, the songs include a new version of his most famous song, "Dirty Work Going On", "Encourage Me Baby", "Don't Start Me To Talking" and Little Milton's "How Could You Do It to Me".

He died in Reno, Nevada in 1990 at the age of 55 from stomach cancer.