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NEWS --  Artie "Blues Boy" White

Artie “Blues Boy” White

R.I.P.  April 16, 1937 – April 20, 2013

Artie Blues Boy White closeup

By Linda Cain

Photos: Jennifer Noble

Soul blues singer Artie “Blues Boy” White, known for hits like “Leanin’ Tree” and  “Don’t Pet My Dog,” passed away at age 76 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

A native of Vicksburg, Mississippi, White’s singing career began as a youth in church, with the Harps of David. In 1956, he moved to Chicago, where he sang with the Full Gospel Wonders. By the 1960s, White was encouraged to use his big, soulful, emotive voice for singing the blues. He recorded with various indie labels over two decades and had a hit on the R&B charts in 1977 with “Leanin’ Tree,” on the Altee label, a song penned by Chicago tunesmith Bob Jones.  White enjoyed a nice career on the club and concert circuit thanks to that record, along with a few popular single releases on the Jewel label. White also ran a blues club, Bootsy’s Lounge, for a time.

In 1985 he recorded an LP for Shreveport’s Ronn Records titled Blues Boy, a name which became part of his stage moniker.  In 1987, Artie “Blues Boy” White signed with Ichiban for a six album run of soul blues. Labelmate Travis Haddix and Chicago’s Bob Jones wrote many songs for White’s Ichiban releases.

Artie White at blues fest
Artie "Blues Boy" White in the VIP section at Chicago Blues Fest

The sharp-dressed singer continued to record and perform internationally through the decades and into the new milliennium. White headlined at the 2000 Chicago Blues Festival.  In 2001, he released “I Can’t Get Enough” on the Achilltown label. 

Artie, Buddy, Carl
Artie White, Buddy Guy, Carl Weathersby on stage in Millennium Park

On July 20, 2008, White was one of the performers called upon to honor Buddy Guy for his induction as the first Great Performer of Illinois, during a blues star-studded outdoor concert in Millennium Park.  Although White had recently recovered from a six week hospital stay, he was able to perform briefly on the outdoor stage and later at the club Legends for a CD release party for Buddy.

Artie White & Carl Weathersby
Artie White & Carl Weathersby at Legends

Dressed to the nines in a yellow suit, laden with bling fit for a rapper, White explained that the doctor told him he’d never sing again. The singer set out to prove them wrong as he bravely sang a couple numbers, backed by Carl Weathersby and the Matthew Skoller Band at Buddy's club.

Throughout his career, White performed with legends like B.B. King, Koko Taylor, Aretha Franklin, Bobby “Blue” Bland, James Brown, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Johnnie Taylor, Little Milton, Bobby Rush, Buddy Guy and many more.

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