With the passing of Bo Diddley, another link to the rich tapestry of American rhythm and blues heritage fades. Whilst we celebrate the lives of long passed classical musicians, writers and performers on stage and screen, who will mount the Blue Plaques for the Blues? Does a legacy stop at a few youtube postings, a myspace cyber existence and a repackaged "Hits of...."?
Two projects, each different in their aims, are being undertaken that seek to preserve this legacy. The first is led by Red Kelly, author of a superb blog on American music, and is raising money to purchase a stone to mark the grave of seminal southern soul giant OV Wright, who to this day 28 years after his untimely death, lies in an unmarked grave in southern Memphis, TN. Red and the guys also did the same for James Carr.
The second project is a film, Where Lightnin' Strikes, a collaboration between film companies to produce a feature length documentary about the life and times of Houston, TX based blues singer Sam Lightnin' Hopkins.
You can donate to each of these projects, through Paypal donations at the OV Wright memorial pages, or by buying a T-Shirt for the film project from the project site ($35 + P&P outside the US, which is about £22).