Soko Richardson (December 8, 1939 –
January 29, 2004) was an American rhythm and blues drummer. His career
spanned almost fifty years, during which he performed and recorded with
seminal groups including John Mayall's
Bluesbreakers and the The Ike & Tina Turner
Revue. He is perhaps best known for his innovative arrangement of the Ike
and Tina version of the Creedence Clearwater Revival song, 'Proud Mary'.
Born in New Iberia, Louisiana, Richardson began his musical career at the
age of 16, when he left home to tour the South with local bands. Shortly
thereafter Ike Turner, upon hearing Richardson play in Texas, hired him to
play with his band, Kings of Rhythm, and then later with The Ike & Tina
Turner Revue. Richardson worked with Turner for the next ten years. In March
1971 Richardson's arrangement of the Creedence Clearwater Revival song,
'Proud Mary' reached number four on the pop charts, and number five on the
R&B charts. The song became a signature song for Tina Turner, and won the
band a Grammy for 'Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Group.'
In 1971, Richardson joined John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, with whom he would
tour and record for the next decade, playing with many of the diverse
artists to whom Mayall gave a start.
In the mid 1980s, Richardson joined Albert
Collins and the Icebreakers, and became an influential member of the
Chicago Blues scene. He helped earn the Icebreakers the
WC Handy Award as Blues Band of The Year in
Over the years Richardson recorded with many other artists, including
Pee Wee Crayton, Bobby Womack and
English guitarist Terry Reid, with whom he was recording an album at the
time of his death. Though limited by health problems in later years, he
continued to perform and record, and sit in on jam sessions with friends. He
played his last gig a few weeks before his death, at a club with Reid.
Richardson died in the early hours of January 29, 2004, in his home in Los
Angeles, from complications of diabetes. He was 64.