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 Fuller Up, The Dead Musician Directory 
   Albert Washington
 Diabetes......Oct.  23, '98
(Blues Unlimited July 1971.Photo courtesy Steve Tracy)
Age 59
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OBITUARY 
        
      Renown bluesman Albert Washington dies 
       

                                          CINCINNATI, Oct. 26 (UPI) A graveside service will be held 
                                          Friday for world renown blues guitarist and singer Albert 
                                          Washington, who died last Friday in Columbus at the age of 59.  

                                          Washington, who is listed in the "Who's Who of Blues," suffered 
                                          from diabetes. He moved to Columbus last month to be cared for 
                                          by his daughter, Lisa Yates.  

                                          She told the Cincinnati Post: "He stayed in the hospital the whole 
                                          time he was here. He never got to come home. The diabetes 
                                          really took its toll."  

                                          Steve Tracy the author of "Going to Cincinnati: A History of the 
                                          Blues in the Queen City" said Washington was "known all over 
                                          the world in blues circles."  

                                          During the 1960s and '70s, Washington recorded many albums 
                                          for Fraternity Records and performed at Cincinnati clubs and 
                                          concerts. His music was said to reflect influences of gospel, 
                                          rhythm and blues, and funk.  

                                          Washington told Tracy that his mother often warned him about 
                                          playing "the Devil's music," so he incorporated gospel into his 
                                          songs. "If you sing a song that's not worth listening to in public, 
                                          now that could be a sin. I can feel the fire from the Holy Ghost in 
                                          me."  

                                          Washington was the father of 10 children.  

      © 1998 UPI. All rights reserved.


  Blues Guitarist Albert Washington Dies
                     Blues guitarist Albert Washington died Friday in Cincinnati of diabetes, the Associated 
                     Press reported. Washington, whose sound was influenced equally by gospel and the blues, 
                     originally recorded "Turn On the Bright Lights" -- a song that would go on to be covered by 
                     jam-rock giants the Grateful Dead. Washington was 59.  
      Sonic Net
       
          Editorial note:  After one year of creating and maintaining this site I 
          have noticed that obituary reporting (like most reporting) is shoddy.  
          Shoddy Shoddy Shoddy.  I remember the Grateful Dead.  And I remember  
          a song called "Turn on Your Love Light," made popular by Bobby Blue Bland. 
          I also studied math in 3rd grade and I was taught that 1998 - 1935 = 63 not 59. 
          I leave the obit that I find fault with on this site because I wasn't there when 
          Albert was born, maybe he was 59.  And maybe the author of the obit saw 
          the Dead more than me and recalls "Turn On the Bright Lights" by Albert Washington 
          as a concert highlight.  Feel free to seek perfection elsewhere, or give us the benefit 
          of your intimate knowledge of the facts. Mailto: Gordon Polatnick
       
 

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BIOGRAPHY
          
            Born: 17 August 1935 in Rome, GA; Died: 23 October 1998 in Columbus,Ohio
                               
                         Singer and songwriter Albert Washington has spent most of his career 
                         singing in the blues clubs around Cincinnati, Ohio and his home in Long Island, 
                         N.Y. Washington, who is blind, released two recordings for Iris Records in the 
                         1990s, Step It Up and Go in 1993 and A Brighter Day in 1994.  

                         One of four children of Jerry and Helen Washington, Albert's love of blues and 
                         gospel made itself known at a very early age. Washington remembers wanting to 
                         play his uncle's guitar at age five. At seven, he made his own guitar out of a 
                         gasoline can using rubber bands as strings. After losing his father at age nine, 
                         Washington got a job washing dishes after school to help his mother with the bills. 
                         After moving to Newport, Kentucky with his family while in his teens, Washington 
                         was encouraged by his mother to continue his gospel singing, but not his blues 
                         singing. At 16, he joined the Gospelaires, then recording for Don Robey's Duke 
                         and Peacock labels out of Houston. A few years later, he formed his own gospel 
                         group, the Washington Singers. In his late teens, Washington would sneak into 
                         blues clubs in nearby Cincinnati every chance he had, and there he was first 
                         exposed to the music of artists like Sam Cooke, Big Maybelle, Charles Brown and 
                         Amos Milburn.  

                         Washington cites B.B. King as most influential on his style of singing and guitar 
                         playing, which is heavily sprinkled with his gospel singing roots. Shortly after his 
                         mother died, he began singing blues as often as he could at the Vet's Inn in 
                         Cincinnati, where he worked with a house band for 16 years. In 1962, he recorded 
                         his first single for the Finch label in Cincinnati, and it was later released on the 
                         Bluestown label. His 1964 singles for the VLM label, including a song he wrote 
                         called "Haven't Got a Friend,'' got him noticed in England, and this in turn led to a 
                         deal with Fraternity Records in 1966. Lonnie Mack joined Washington on several 
                         singles for Fraternity recorded in 1969. In 1970, he recorded two singles for the 
                         Jewel label before finally recording his first LP for the Detroit-based Eastbound 
                         Records in 1972.  

                         Because of complications from diabetes, Washington lost his sight, and his career 
                         fell into a trough from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s.  

                         But despite the crippling effects of diabetes and the tragedies that befell him over 
                         the course of his life, Washington remains an upbeat, positive figure.  

                         In January, 1993, Long Island-based Iris Records released his first recording in two 
                         decades, Step It Up and Go. He began touring regionally again, but he still 
                         frequents clubs in Long Island. His 1994 follow up album, A Brighter Day, was 
                         named one of the top three blues recordings of 1994 by France's Academie Du 
                         Jazz. Washington continues to perform in blues clubs around Long Island.  
                         ~Richard Skelly, All-Music Guide 

  
 

 

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