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Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith
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    (January 19, 1936-September 16, 2011)
    Born in Helena, Arkansas
    Blues singer, harmonica player and drummer
    Member of Muddy Waters' band (1959-64,1969-80)
    Member of the Legendary Blues Band (1980-93)
    Recorded the albums 'Bag Full of Blues' (1995), 'Nothin But the Blues Y'All' (1999), 'Blues from the Heart' (2000), 'Bluesin It' (2004), 'Way Back' (2006), 'Born in Arkansas' (2008) and 'Joined at the Hip' (with Pinetop Perkins, 2010)
    Appeared in 'The Blues Brothers' (1980)
    He promised his first wife he would stop performing (1955), but was back within a year.
    In the mid-60s, he quit music for several years to drive a cab.
    Muddy Waters dubbed him 'Big Eyes' solely because he was the only member of his band without a nickname: 'We're gonna have to call you something.'
    His son (who was also a member of his band) got the nickname 'Beedy Eyes.'
    He was raised by his sharecropper grandparents.
    He won the W.C. Handy/Blues Foundation Award for best drummer twelve times (1996-99,2002-09).
    A review of one of his shows with Pinetop Perkins declared, 'Between them, they're 169 years old, but they rock harder than most twentysomethings.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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