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Richard 'Beau' Shelby

Beau ShelbySTLBlues: Welcome to STLBlues, and thanks for doing our online interview. Let's start with where you were born.

Beau Shelby: I was born in Indianola, Miss.

STLBlues: How long have you lived in St. Louis?

Beau Shelby: Since 1969.

STLBlues: What is your preferred musical instrument?

Beau Shelby: My first love is guitar.

STLBlues: Who are some of your musical influences?

Beau Shelby: Quite a few - Mountain, Yes, Black Oak Arkansas, Leon Russel, Jackson 5, Temptations, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Nektar, Chick & R.T.F., Rufus & Chaka Khan, Eddie Harris, Houston Person, Dexter Gordon, Stevie Wonder, Tyrone Davis, Jr. Walker, Billy Preston, Kansas, Hughes Corp., Spinners, Eddie Arnold, Ray Charles, Albert King, B.B. King, Yellowjackets, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Johnnie Taylor, George Benson.

Locals - Sheer Energy Oliver Sain, Johnnie Johnson, Chuck Berry, Clayton Love, Joe Bethly, Bill Lawton, Afterbirth, 13th Floor, Buzzy Morton, Phil Westmoreland (Oliver Sain), Marty Abdullah, Bill Tucker, Ralph Butler, Sreetcorner Symphony, Constellation, Al Caldwell, Doc Terry, Eugene Johnson, The Bunch, Jabon, the Unpredictd , Drama Five, Charles Drain, Blues Randy, Billy Gayles, Gus Thornton, Steve Kirby, Tony Saputo, Greg Glover, JoAnn Lewis, Eric Foreman.

STLBlues: Was there music around the house as you were growing up?

Beau Shelby: My mother, my daughter, Betty Wright is a distant cousin, Roosevelt Wright was a writer for the Impressions back in the day (cousin) Albert Collins was a member of the Kansas City, Mo "Shelby" clan of which I am a member.

STLBlues: Who do you like to listen to?

Beau Shelby: Ptah Williams, Billy Barnett, Ralph Butler, Bennie Smith, Rich Mcdonough, Soulard Blues Band, Matt Murdick, Williie Aikens, Angela Udo.

STLBlues: Have you done any recordings?

Beau Shelby: A summer 2000 release titled "Stand Up" which can be heard on Monday nites on "Curran Events, WGNU 920 AM & WGNU.net (10pm- Midnite) Oliver Sain's 2003 release "Soul Serenade", David Dee's "Goin'Fishin", "Rockin' 88's" featuring Johnnie Johnson, Clayton Love and Jimmie Vaughn. Four different CD releases from Al Caldwell ("Vanessa Williams Show,coming in May '05) in 2004, Jimmie "Ironhead" Matthews, Kayja ("Played Me For a Fool) and others.

STLBlues: What is your favorite musical moment, and why?

Beau Shelby: Meeting Albert King and hanging out backstage @ Fair St. Louis in '88. Why is self-explanatory!

STLBlues: What is your favorite gig, and why?

Beau Shelby: In town it's hands down (smile) BB's!! Why? Saturday nights!!

STLBlues: Describe your musical path.

Beau Shelby: I could always sing back an entire simple song since the age of 2 according to my ooldest siblings. I used this skill to "samle",if you will, my current preferences and began to enlarge my personal database of grooves and figure out how to play them on guitar. I got my hands on one for the first time in the fall of '73 while living in St. James. I took my first lessons from a guy named Harlan Marshall from Kentucky. He was in his 50's and was very impressed with my sincerity and aptitude of learning the guitar.
He tutored me for about a year, teaching me Country tunes as this was the only style he could play, but, DAMN, could he play!! I came back to St. Louis in '74 and got my first guitar & amp (Teisco) out of the "Tradin' Times for $30!! I never had another teacher to this day, but, I became like a sponge for the knowledge of how to make that mother talk to me!

About a year later, I joined my first band alongside my older nephew Alex King who played percussion and sang his ass off. We rehearsed about once a week until the Spring of '75 and got an invitation play a neighborhood block party in John Thomas's front yard and it was then and there that I got my first taste of stage fright! Oh, man!! It was awful!(lol) I wood shedded and jammed as much as possible for the next year or so until I ended up at Visual & Performing Arts High School (Humboldt School) where I met Al Caldwell & Warner Harrison (bass) and we began to get our jam on like nobody's business. A couple of months later, Warner asked me to join a group he had bee playing with and I jumped at the chance. All was well for about 3 weeks until some members who couldn't keep up & decided to quit. Subsequently we added other personnel and that was the birth of my first project called "Jabon"

STLBlues: What are some of your musical goals?

Beau Shelby: To attract investors for both my current CD project and a wealth of St. Louis talent that is yet untapped and is potentially worth untold millions. I interact with these people regularly and am personally aware of their ability to kick ass as soon as the funding is available to implement my strategy.
Creating a new record label is a possible feature of this proposal, but not entirely necessary as I am confident that many well known labels and distributors would be clamoring for signees out of the project.

STLBlues: What do you think of the state of St. Louis Blues?

Beau Shelby: I think that the most important element of any viable music style such as the Blues is that it continues to develop. There is a highly commendable amount of emphasis placed on archiving the history and encouraging modern players to love and appreciate it from that perspective, but, the new blood of innovators such as myself have virtually no outlet for all these fantastic ideas that would, I think, really put the St. Louis Blues scene on the map.

I see others from out of town with very lame attempts at such innovation constantly booked to the hilt at the better blues venues and festivals. This puts the lions share of Blues economics in the pockets of out-of-towners who don't represent St. Louis.

The other thing is: Politics. It is a given that it's going to be present to some extent, but,political games are being played to such an extent with regard to choice bookings and high exposure events that no one is thiinking of this one fact; You keep seeing all the same acts who are "like" someone and you get numb.
I think what's needed is that acts like Beau Shelby & Flyy and others be featured more often at The Pageant, tours to Europe, the festivals, and other high profile events that take place in St. Louis in order to shock the lightning out of people every now and then. This would break up the stagnation that has set in with everybody working the history angle

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