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Johnnie Bassett

Johnnie Bassett was born on 09/10/1935 in Marianna, Florida. His full birth name was Johnnie Alexander Bassett. In 1944, he and his family moved to Detroit. He was a part of a local group called Joe Weaver and the Bluenotes. The band would win talent contests and backed Big Joe Turner and Ruth Brown.
In 1958, Bassett enrolled into the US army. When he returned to Detroit, he worked with the Bluenotes as session musicians for Fortune Records. During this period, he backed Nolan Strong & The Diablos as well as Andre Williams. In a short tenure at Chess Records, he backed The Miracles on their debut single "Got a Job". Whilst in Detroit, Bassett played on stage alongside John Lee Hooker, Alberta Adams, Lowell Fulson and Dinah Washington.
Over the next decade, Bassett would regularly gig in Seattle and also backed Tina Turner and Little Willie John.
In 1994, The Detroit Blues Society awarded Bassett with a lifetime achievement award.
In 1996, Bassett released the album "I Gave My Life to the Blues" on the dutch label Black Magic. He then went on tour with his backing band the Blues Insurgents in the US and Europe.
In 1998, Bassett released the album "Cadillac Blues". It was nominated for five W.C. Handy Awards.
Bassett's record label Cannonball Records folded. He signed a contract with Mack Avenue Records after the owner saw Bassett play a concert in Detroit suburb Grosse Pointe.
In 2003, Bassett performed at the Great Lakes Folk Festival as part of the Detroit Blues Revue with Alberta Adams and Joe Weaver.
In 2006, Bassett won the "Outstanding Blues/R&B Instrumentalist" title at the Detroit Music Awards.
In 2009, Bassett released the album "The Gentleman is Back".
In 2010, Bassett's album "The Gentleman is Back" won a Detroit Music Award for "Outstanding National Small/Independent Label Recording".
In 2010 and 2011, Bassett won the "Outstanding Blues Artist/Group" title at the Detroit Music Awards.
Bassett and his band would play weekly at the Northern Lights Lounge in Detroit.
On 04/08/2012, Bassett died of cancer in Detroit, Michigan.

The Music History Calendar is written by the Blues Rock artist Marshland Pete
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