Bennie Smith

b Oct 5, 1933 - St. Louis, MO             d Sep 10, 2006 - St Louis, MO

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Bennie was considered the dean of the St Louis guitarists and lived most of
his life in St Louis; however he toured through the South and played London
and throughout Europe at times.  He started playing the guitar in the early 1940's
and continued playing his entire life.  During the 1950's he worked at a regular
job at the Beamis Bag Company while playing the guitar at night.  Bennie played
at most of the joints in the St Louis area such as: Dots Lounge, Frolic Bar,
Chappy's, Peppermint Club, Ned Love's, The Birdcage, Manhattan, Venice Cafe,
Club Rivera, BB's, Beale on Broadway, Off Broadway, Broadway Oyster Bar,
Soulard Ale House, Brandt's, Riddle's, and Hammerstones.

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The list of musicians that Bennie played with reads like a Who's Who of the
Blues: Ike Turner, BB King, Tina Turner, Big Bad Smitty, Clayton Love,
Eugene Washington, Raymond Hill, Billy Duncan, Sam Rose, Tommy Brown,
Little Milton, Gatemouth Brown, Aretha Franklin, Morris Henderson, Vernon Guy,
Billy Gayles, Billy Peek, Johnnie Johnson, Chuck Berry, Big Clara McDaniels,
James Crutchfield, Ace Wallace, Henry Townsend, Matt Guitar Murphy, Bobby
Blue Bland, Albert King, Jimmy Reed, Hubert Sumlin, and Tommy Bankhead.

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On Bennie's 70th birthday, St Louis Mayor Francis Slay proclaimed
October 5, 2003 as "Bennie Smith Day" for Bennie's long contribution to the
blues in St Louis.  Again in 2006, the mayor named September 2nd as "Bennie
Smith Day" when Bennie took the stage at the 2006 Big Muddy Blues Festival
in St Louis, just eight days before he died.

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