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Snooks Eaglin, born Fird Eaglin, Jr. (January 21, 1936 – February 18, 2009), was a guitarist and singer in New Orleans. He has also been referred to as Blind Snooks Eaglin in this early years.
His vocal style is reminiscent of Ray Charles; indeed, in the 50s, when he was in his late teens, he would sometimes bill himself as "Little" Ray Charles. He is generally regarded as a New Orleans R&B artist playing a wide range of music from blues, rock 'n' roll, jazz, country to Latin music. In his early years, he also played some straight-ahead acoustic blues.
His ability to play a wide range of songs and his ability to perfectly understand and make the tunes his own earned him the nickname the "human juKeb' Mo'ox." Eaglin claimed in interviews that his musical repertoire included some 2,500 songs.
At live shows, he did not usually prepare set lists, and was unpredictable, even to his band mates. He played songs that come to his head, and he also took requests from the audience.
As a solo artist, his recording and touring were inconsistent, and for a man with a career of about 50 years, his discography is rather slim. His first recording was in 1953, playing guitar at a recording session for James "Sugar Boy" Crawford.
The first recordings under his own name came when Harry Oster, a
folklorist from Louisiana State University, found him playing in the
streets of New Orleans. Oster made recordings of Eaglin between 1958 and
1960 during seven sessions which later became records on various labels
including Folkways, Folklyric, and Prestige/Bluesville. These recordings
were in folk blues style, Eaglin with an acoustic guitar without a band.
His next work came on Swedish label Sonet in 1971. Another album Down
Yonder was released in 1978 featuring Ellis Marsalis on piano. Apart
from his own work, he joined recording sessions with Professor Longhair
in 1971 and 72 (Mardi Gras in Baton Rouge) He also played some funky
guitars on The Wild Magnolias' first album recorded in 1973.
After Black Top Records closed its doors, Eaglin released The Way It
Is on Money Pit Records. Though it is on a different label, it is
literally another Black Top release as it is produced by the same Scott
brothers of Black Top.
For many years, Eaglin lived in the suburbs of New Orleans in St. Rose with his wife Dorothea. Though he did not play many live shows, he regularly performed at Rock n' Bowl in New Orleans, and also at the New Orleans Jazz Fest.