Home / Blues Roundup: Blues Legend Cary Bell Dies, 70; Blues Music Awards to Be Presented in Memphis

Blues Roundup: Blues Legend Cary Bell Dies, 70; Blues Music Awards to Be Presented in Memphis

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As Memphis prepares for the biggest night of the year for the blues, the genre has lost one of its greatest heroes. Harmonica/vocalist Carey Bell died Sunday of a heart attack. He was 70. Carey Bell Harrington, a Macon, Mississippi native, was a fixture on the Chicago blues scene for decades.  Bell's health had been declining recently as he suffered a stroke and broke a hip, hospitalizing him for four months.


Bell recorded numerous albums on his own and also played as a sideman for Muddy Waters and worked with Willie Dixon, Big Walter Horton, and Earl Hooker. As a solo artist, he recorded for Blind Pig, Delmark, JSP, and Blind Pig records. Delmark this year released a live CD/DVD, Gettin Up, featuring Bell performing with his son, Lurrie. 

He is survived by 10 children.

The Blues Foundation will certainly remember Bell at the 28th Blues Music Awards tonight in Memphis. His passing will be mourned along with three of the evening's nominees who have passed away in the last year: Robert Lockwood Jr., Henry James Townsend, and Ruth Brown.

In addition to the remembering great blues artists who have passed, the Blues Foundation will recognize some outstanding records and artists released in the past year. This is the first year I have voted in the awards and I'm eager to see how many of the albums and artists I voted for will walk away with hardware.

Vying for the top prize of Album of the Year are:

Complete List of Nomimees

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About Josh Hathaway

  • Josh I would just like to correct one thing about your bit about Carey Bell – he couldn’t have been hopitalized for four months after his stroke and broken hip, because four weeks after he had had the stroke he was on stage with Lurrie recording “Gettin Up Live” He actually wrote that song the day before the gig in celebration of the fact.

    cheers Richard Marcus

  • Richard, you may well be right but this is what the review on AMG.com said:

    This brilliant effort by Carey Bell and his son Lurrie Bell, both of whom are blues legends, almost did not take place. Carey suffered a minor stroke and broke his hip, spending four months in the hospital. Three days after he left the hospital, he was on his way to Chicago to perform at a concert with Lurrie.

    At any rate, Carey Bell’s death is a real loss to the blues community and we all send our best to his family.

  • b ob snow

    listening to mr bell right now great blues man.great blues cd called harp attack.saw james cotton up in maine dec 07.these old blues men are a national treasure.huberty sumlin still toyrs,getting the recogniciion he so richly deserves.i think a blues band without a harp,aint a blues band.

  • Glenn (Mr. B-flat)

    Ihad the pleasure of hanging out with Cary a number of times when i was a member of the Baltimore Blues Society. He was the pinical of what a true blues man should be and I have began to write my own little blues tribute song to remind me of him.