Nick Gravenites Biography

Chicago, Illinois, USA. Gravenites grew up on Chicago’s south side. He entered university in 1956 and was immediately drawn to its bohemian circle. Having discovered several blues nightclubs, including Frader’s Jukebox Lounge, Gravenites joined a loosely knit group of white aficionados, which included Charlie Musselwhite, Mike Bloomfield and Paul Butterfield. The last-named recorded a Gravenites composition, ‘Born In Chicago’, on his band’s debut album, but it was with Bloomfield that the artist forged a fruitful partnership. In 1967 they formed the short-lived Electric Flag and, having settled in San Francisco, the duo became an integral part of the Bay Area live circuit. Live At Bill Graham’s Fillmore West captured part of one informal appearance while other tracks, recorded at the same show, formed the basis for Gravenites’ solo debut My Labors. In addition to Gravenites’ effortless blues vocals the set also featured some inspired playing from Bloomfield.

Gravenites also produced the debut album from Quicksilver Messenger Service. The group later recorded several of his compositions, notably ‘Joseph’s Coat’, which Gravenites later took to Big Brother And The Holding Company during his tenure in the band. Janis Joplin, their former lead singer, meanwhile, completed an impassioned reading of his ‘Work Me Lord’ on Kozmic Blues. The artist wrote and performed part of the soundtrack of Steelyard Blues (1973), and remained an active figure during the 70s and 80s, fronting Nick Gravenites Blues, Monday Night Live (with Huey Lewis), as well as several projects with former Quicksilver guitarist John Cipollina. Gravenites remains a highly respected figure, particularly in Europe, where he has toured extensively. Andrew Lauder’s Evangeline label reissued My Labors with extra tracks from the Fillmore album in 2002.

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

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