Listen: Elvin Bishop – "Night
Time is the Right Time"
Back by popular demand, bassist Ruth Davies’s Blues Night is
always a festival highlight. Davies has earned serious blues credentials,
gigging with such greats as Charles Brown, John Lee Hooker, and Jimmy
Witherspoon, and she brings together a sensational lineup of musicians
each year at Stanford to celebrate the blues. This year’s special
guest is Elvin Bishop, a consummate bluesman whose slide guitar has
thrilled listeners for more than 45 years. Growing up on a farm in
Iowa, Bishop fell in love with the blues on the radio. When he left
home as a young man he followed the music to Chicago and immersed
himself in the city’s thriving electric blues scene. Bishop
made several hit recordings after moving to San Francisco in the
late 1960s, including the famous "Fooled Around and Fell in
Love" in 1976. He has continued to record and tour regularly
since then, and his 2008 album The Blues Rolls On, which
featured all-stars like B.B. King, James Cotton, and George Thorogood,
was nominated for a Grammy award for the year’s best traditional
“Elvin has become the most respected and beloved
artist to come out of the 60s blues-rock explosion.”
What is the first recording you remember hearing as a
We didn’t have electricity when I was a kid. It was something
on the radio, probably country.
What job would you have if you weren’t a blues musician?
Farmer. I raise a big garden.
What is your favorite food?
Fresh vegetables from my garden.
What’s the strangest experience you’ve
ever had on the bandstand?
A guy got shot and killed when I was playing in a blues club on
51st Street in Chicago around 1961. The club owner told me to just
What’s the most exotic place you’ve traveled
to as a musician?
Hong Kong or Buck’s Pocket, Alabama.
If you could play with any other musician, living or dead (with
whom you have not played), who would it be and why?
Blind Lemon Jefferson because I love his stuff.
What hobbies do you have?
I read and write Japanese as a hobby.
Who is your greatest musical influence? There are so many from gospel to old blues, R&B, new
blues, jazz… I just keep my ears open all the time.
If you were stranded on a desert island and could only
have three recordings with you, what would they be? Muddy Waters’s first album; Frostbite by
Albert Collins; My Jug & I by Percy Mayfield come to
When did you become interested in music, and what circumstances
or events led to your becoming a professional musician? I became interested in music in Junior High school when
I saw that the girls liked guitar players. I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma,
where it wasn’t accepted to hang out with musicians of color,
so I moved to Chicago. There, the clubs stayed open really late.
I’d play six to seven shows per night, which really solidified