Two of Houston's last surviving bluesmen have recently suffered significant health setbacks, according to members of the blues community.
Guitarist I.J. Gosey, once a member of the session crew that produced a slew of R&B standards for Houston's Duke/Peacock records in the '50s and early '60s, has had a series of minor strokes, says Houston Blues Society president Glyn Westcott. Gosey anchored popular Sunday-evening residencies at C. Davis Bar-B-Q and then Mr. Geno's on Cullen before a bigger stroke sidelined him a couple of years ago.
Gosey, who released the solo album Let Me Play For You in 2001, does not have health insurance and his wife is also ailing, Westcott says. Big Easy Social & Pleasure Club owner Tom McLendon has organized a benefit for the family this coming Sunday starting at 2 p.m. featuring Houston acts Trudy Lynn, Rick Lee, Mojo Fromopolis, Diunna Greenleaf, Jonn Richardson and members of Gosey's band. A minimum $5 donation at the door is requested.
Dreadlocked Little Joe Washington, meanwhile, has reportedly been in Ben Taub hospital for several days. The diminutive, flamboyant guitarist and singer played the Houston Press Music Awards showcase last month, but onlookers then remarked that he looked especially gaunt.
Washington was hospitalized in June 2010 and operated on for an obstructed bowel, and also has a history of kidney trouble. He made what appeared to be a full recovery and had been keeping his regularly scheduled Boondocks Tuesday-night gig and Continental Club happy hours, as well as his trademark pop-ins, sounding great as recently as the showcase.
Local blues DJ Mrs. V announced Washington's latest hospitalization on her KPFT program Blues on the Move this past Sunday, as well as on the show's Facebook page, where she said Washington was suffering from a kidney infection and dehydration, and had been admitted August 28.
There is one bit of good news: Westcott says Mrs. V's husband, Mr. V, is recovering from a recent triple bypass operation and was feeling well enough to attend the HBS-sponsored Sunday-evening free shows at House of Blues' Crossroads room.
Rocks Off will of course update this story if we hear any further word on either man's condition.