Thursday, February 18, 2016

Blues at Home Musician Elmore "Elmo" Williams passes at 83

Blues at Home Musician

Elmore "Elmo" Williams
passes at 83

February 6, 1933 - February 16, 2016

Elmore Williams, Jr., was born in Natchez in 1933. His
father was a blues guitarist who worked as a cement
finisher, and was killed while traveling to work in
Biloxi. Elmore was 10.
Elmore first began performing at local gatherings as
a teenager. He was drafted into the Army and
returned to Natchez after being discharged. He
started singing in a band led by John Fitzgerald and
featuring guitarist James Woods and drummer
Hezekiah Early. The trio often performed at Haney’s
Big House in Ferriday, Louisiana, the biggest club in
the region. In the mid-1950s, Williams formed his own
band, which played at Natchez area venues. In the
1970s and 1980s, Elmore performed mostly at
weddings and informal get-togethers. In 1984, he
performed at the World’s Fair in New Orleans and
traveled to the Netherlands. Elmore worked in
sawmills, a bakery and a dairy when not performing.
He returned to music full-time when the owners of
Oxford’s Fat Possum Records tracked him down and
recorded him with former bandmate Hezekiah Early.
In 1998, Fat Possum recorded
Takes One To Know One,
featuring the Natchez duo. Following its release,
Elmore and Hezekiah toured across the U.S., traveled
to Japan and made multiple visits to Europe.
“I ain't never thought about nothing else to do. I made more playing music than I was working them old jobs. My mama was working and making $9 a week. I was making $11. We pooled that money up there to come on up with my siblings, and it was rough. I didn't get a chance to finish school...I did get a ninth grade education. And I had to go to regular work and I said well, I ain't going
back. I just went on in life with that.”

-- Elmo Williams
We have lost Elmo Williams.  In 2011 my team and I drove to Natchez, Mississippi from my hometown of Vicksburg, about a 75 minute drive.  We were meeting Mississippi born living blues legend, Elmore "Elmo" Williams Jr., to include him in the Blues @ Home project. We followed him through his warm paneled kitchen to a comfortable den, we set up, and he slowly shared his layered life in the blues.  Elmo's wife had passed a year earlier, and he was carrying deep pain... it settled on every word. Even as he shared his raucous blues history, he spoke of his wife and family until it brought tears to all of us.  I chose to paint his image with his family portrait and the last supper present in the background...a seemingly opposite surrounding for a blues legend!  He was personally tortured by his church's stance on the blues, but he found grace in both and held to each for dear life!  Elmo, your talents will be so missed, thank you for leaving us your music and your story!  Blessings to your family and friends in their loss.   
- H. C. Porter 

H.C. Porter Gallery, 1216 Washington St. Vicksburg, MS 39183

601 - 661 - 9444 . .


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Remembering L. C. Ulmer, Blues@Home Legend

Blues at Home Legend

L. C. Ulmer passes at 87

August 28, 1928 - February 14, 2016

     Lee Chester "L. C." Ulmer was born in 1928 in Stringer, Mississippi, and later moved to a plantation near Moss Hill with his musical family. L. C. grew up surrounded by music from family and local musicians who played at picnics, fish fries, and on his front porch.  
      He began playing guitar when he was 9 years old and, by the time he was 14, he was building railway trestles and playing regularly at juke joints. He traveled a lot around the Southeast, playing guitar for gospel quartets and taking various blues jobs at local clubs. In 1955, he ended up in Arizona, where he recorded advertisement songs and played with famous musicians such as Elvis Presley, Nat King Cole, and Fats Domino.
     After a brief stint in California, where he made his living playing on the streets, L. C. moved back to Laurel briefly before moving to Joliet, Illinois, where he lived for 37 years working construction, running an automotive shop and performing regularly as a one-man band. He performed on shows with well-known blues performers Elmore James, Howlin' Wolf and Jimmy Reed.  
After returning to Mississippi in 2001, L. C. has performed festivals across the state. He has traveled to Cuba, Italy, and Egypt to perform, and in 2011, he recorded his first CD, Blues Come Yonder, on the Hill Country Records label.

"My daddy taught us all how to work. He said... 'Ain't nobody going to give you nothing.' He wasn't wrong about that. And I found that out later on when I got to traveling. Good thing I knowed how to play the guitar and sing... Well I was pretty good on that. I got to be the ace of traveling - traveling blues man. Look at me. I'm getting big now."

-- L. C. Ulmer

L.C. had the sweetest spirit...the only non-smoking, non-drinking, vegetarian, read the Bible 12 times bluesman that ever existed, I feel certain! My team and I spent the day with him at his home in Ellisville, Mississippi in 2010, recording his words and capturing his image for the Blues @ Home project. Truly a living blues legend of Mississippi!   I chose to paint my image of him with the washtub framing his head as a nod to the early Russian tender saints paintings with the halos floating majestically behind them.  He is at home with God now, picking up specks of lint and putting them in old tomato cans just to keep Heaven tidy! Thank you L.C. for all that you have given us! You will be remembered and dearly missed. My love goes out to his friends and family.
- H. C. Porter

H.C. Porter Gallery, 1216 Washington St. Vicksburg, MS 39183

601 - 661 - 9444 . .

Friday, May 29, 2015

Thank You B.B.

Riley "B.B." King

September 16, 1925 - May 14th, 2015

A Legend, A Legacy

Thank you B.B. King for being a part of Blues @ Home.

No tribute to Mississippi's blues legends would be complete without "The King of The Blues", and I am honored to have included his portrait and voice in Blues @ Home, my documentation of Mississippi Blues Legends. 

B.B. King was the greatest ambassador for blues in Mississippi, therefore his legacy is vital to the state's overall blues story. His childhood performances were on street corners in the Mississippi Delta and though he went on to perform on international stages, he never forgot his origins. He recalled in an interview:

"I used to sit on the corners here in Indianola at the 
corner of Church Street and Second. And, that's 
when I would play, and people used to give me 
money. Would you believe that, during this time, 
I was making twenty-two dollars and a half a week driving tractors, 
but some nights -- on Saturday evening, I'd make fifty to
sixty dollars -- I made a hundred dollars -- 
just sitting on the corner playing."

-- B. B. King

I would like to thank B.B. King for his participation in the Blues @ Home project. His music and his story will live on, and I am humbled and grateful to have played a small role in preserving his legacy.

- H. C. Porter
Logo Black
H.C. Porter Gallery, 1216 Washington St. Vicksburg, MS 39183

601 - 661 - 9444 . .

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Terry Evans

H.C. Porter recently added a 30th musician to Blues @ Home. A legendary musician, performer and songwriter, Terry Evans is a Vicksburg native. H.C. Porter, who has her gallery in downtown Vicksburg, caught up with Evans while he was home on tour from Los Angeles. 

Porter photographed him at the railroad tracks along the Mississippi River. Evans showed he was right at home and is a great addition to our list of Mississippi legends.

For information on this project and to find out how to sponsor a painting, visit the Blues @ Home site or contact the H.C. Porter Gallery at 601-661-9444.

Purchase prints online of the paintings that have been completed to-date and will make up the nationally traveling exhibition.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Blues @ Home was honored to be part of the recent Blessissippi Crossroads Concert event in Clarksdale. The event was a fund-raiser for Delta State University's Delta Music Institute and was hosted by actor Morgan Freeman and founder, Charles Annenberg Weingarten.
H.C. Porter and Lauchlin Fields, project manager for Blues @ Home, were excited to showcase some of the photographs and paintings from the project during the weekend at Son House Gallery right down from the Delta Blues Museum and Ground Zero Blues Club, where the concert was held Saturday night.

Daryl Hollingsworth found a way to hang a couple of the paintings from the ceiling of Ground Zero.
This painting of Super Chikan, one of the 29 Blues @ Home featured musicians, was on display as Super Chikan jammed on stage.

H.C. Porter had the opportunity to speak about the project on stage.

Blues @ Home is trucking along as H.C. continues to create the portrait paintings. We still have painting sponsorships available. Visit the Blues @ Home Web site to learn more about sponsoring a painting.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sharde Thomas

H.C. Porter added fife player Sharde Thomas as the 29th and final blues legend to Part One of Blues @ Home.

Sharde, at 22, has already established herself as a legend like her legendary grandfather, Otha Turner.
Here is a clip from Sharde's interview with H.C. She explains how she was introduced to the fife by her grandfather...

Limited edition photographs of Sharde from this photo shoot will be available for viewing and purchase soon in our online Blues @ Home photo gallery. We have only 10 more painting sponsorships available. It's not too late to be part of this historic project documenting Mississippi blues legends. Visit the Blues @ Home website for information, and be sure to stay tuned for all the latest news on the project.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mississippi Arts Hour

H.C. Porter recently talked about her career and the Blues @ Home project on Mississippi Public Broadcasting's Mississippi Arts Hour. Here she is with Mary Margaret Miller of the Mississippi Arts Commission, who conducted the interview:
Follow the link to hear the hour-long interview: