Son Seals Biography

Frank Seals Jnr., 14 August 1942, Osceola, Arkansas, USA, d. 20 December 2004, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Son Seals was one of 13 children of Jim Seals, an entertainer and club owner in rural Arkansas. Son began his musical education on the drums and worked with many of the later famous musicians who travelled through the area. Having taught himself to play the guitar, he formed his own band to work around the city of Little Rock. He moved to Chicago in 1971, initially to work outside music, although he soon began to make appearances at local clubs. In 1973, he signed to Alligator Records and recorded his first album. Following this release he became well known on the blues scene both in the USA and in Europe. Edging towards the ‘soul blues’ category his career gained strength, and in 1980 he took part in Chicagofest alongside Muddy Waters and Koko Taylor (Seals was later nominated for a Grammy for the live recording of the event). 1984 saw the release of the well-received album Bad Axe, and the following year Seals received a W.C. Handy Blues Award. The belated follow-up to Bad Axe, 1991’s Living In The Danger Zone, was a bleak record, despite featuring uptempo horn charts.

In January 1997, Seals was shot in the face following an argument with his wife, but returned to performing a few weeks later. The following year he had to have part of one of his legs surgically removed, owing to diabetes. In the light of these disasters he continued to perform, recording Lettin’ Go for new label Telarc Records (the cover graphically depicted the results of Seals’ surgery), and winning his third W.C. Handy Award in 2001. Diabetes finally got the better of him in December 2004.

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

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