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Alabama Bluesman Willie King Passes; Funeral Information:

Willie King, the renowned Alabama Blues singer and guitarist, died Sunday, March 8, near his home in the rural community known as Old Memphis, Alabama. He was 65.

His death was announced on his Web site, willie-king.com.

He died suddenly of a heart attack, said Rick Asherson, who had been playing keyboards with him for several years.

With a voice reminiscent at times of Howlin’ Wolf and a style similar to John Lee Hooker’s, Mr. King appeared at Blues festivals here and abroad. He first came to prominence outside west Alabama with his critically acclaimed 2001 CD Freedom Creek on the Rooster Blues record label. He brought an understanding of history and contemporary subject matter to songs like “Second Coming,” which invoked John Brown and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Mr. King started the Freedom Creek Festival in 1997 on his farm on Freedom Creek in Pickens County, Alabama, near the Mississippi state line. Since then, it has attracted top Blues musicians and bands. It is scheduled for May 29 and May 30 this year. Mr. Asherson said there were hopes of keeping the festival going as a memorial to Mr. King.

His funeral is scheduled for Sunday, March 15, at 2 p.m. and will be held at the City Hall in Aliceville, Alabama. A wake will be held the day before on Saturday, March 14, from 1 - 3 p.m. at Willie King's home in Old Memphis.

The Willie King Memorial Fund has been created for those who wish to help with funeral expenses and to create a historic marker celebrating Willie King's life and works. In celebration of his life and many good works please send any donations to:

The Willie King Memorial Fund
c/o West Alabama Bank
Attention: Tammy
PO Box 406
Aliceville, Alabama 35442

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