Katie Webster Biography

Kathryn Jewel Thorne, 9 January 1939, Houston, Texas, USA, 5 September 1999, League City, Texas, USA. Webster learned to play the piano as a child, playing hymn tunes when her mother was within earshot and Fats Domino and Chuck Berry tunes when she was not. She developed, in her words, ‘A funky left hand and a rollin’ right’, which talent led to her becoming house pianist at Jay Miller’s studio in Crowley, Louisiana, from 1959-66. During that period, she backed Excello Records’ swamp blues artists such as Lazy Lester, Lonesome Sundown and Lightnin’ Slim. She also recorded under her own name, or with billing shared with Ashton Conroy (Ashton Savoy). These recordings showed her to be a versatile performer, covering tough, down-home blues, rocking R&B, soul and pop ballads, and revealed a sweet, but sassy voice. She played with Otis Redding’s touring band from the mid-60s until his death in 1967, after which her career took a downturn. She played only local gigs during the 70s before moving to Oakland, California. In 1982 she played the festival circuit in Europe, the first of many such tours. She continued to tour with her band, Silent Partners, and to lay down her two-fisted playing and no-nonsense singing on a succession of fine albums for Arhoolie Records, Alligator Records and Ornament, but a stroke sadly brought a premature end to her recording career.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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