Carey Bell
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CHICAGO (AP) – Blues harmonica player Carey Bell, who performed with both Muddy Waters' and Willie Dixon's bands, has died of heart failure. He was 70.

Bell died Sunday at Kindred Hospital, according to Alligator Records, which released several of Bell's albums.

"He was truly a master of his instrument. He learned the blues from living the blues," said label president Bruce Iglauer. "When he picked up that harp, it was deep down. He reached in."

Carey Bell Harrington was born on Nov. 14, 1936, in Macon, Mississippi. He wanted a saxophone but his family could not afford one. Instead, his grandfather bought him a harmonica.

He was playing the harmonica by age 8, and in 1956, at age 19, he moved to Chicago with his godfather, pianist Lovie Lee.

Soon, he was supporting himself as a professional musician, playing on the street for tips, Iglauer said.

He met and learned from Marion "Little Walter" Jacobs and Sonny Boy Williamson II, but found a special fatherly mentor in Big Walter Horton, Iglauer said.

Bell was a bridge between the styles of first-generation Chicago blues players such as Jacobs and Horton and the players who followed, such as Billy Branch, said Iglauer.

"Carey took the big tone that Little Walter brought with amplifying the harmonica in the first place and using distortion from the microphone to thicken the sound of the instrument, and he combined that with a funkier, more contemporary rhythm feel," Iglauer said.

Bell spent 1971 traveling and recording with Muddy Waters, and can be heard on Waters' "The London Sessions." He worked regularly in the 1970s with Willie Dixon's Chicago Blues All-Stars.

Branch replaced Bell in Dixon's band, but the two developed a taunting, yet friendly, rivalry over the ensuing years, Branch said.

"He would come to my gigs and surprise me," Branch recalled. "And sometimes, right in the middle of my solo, he'd say, 'Give me that harp.' And I'd give it to him!"

Branch said Bell's style was so unique he has trouble describing it. He visited Bell in the hospital Friday, and while the bluesman was in and out of consciousness, "I got him to respond by imitating one of his signature licks. He turned around like, 'There you go, stealing my stuff again.'"

Iglauer served as producer for several of Bell's albums, including "Harp Attack" – which also featured Junior Wells, James Cotton and Branch – along with the solo records "Deep Down" in 1995 and "Good Luck Man" in 1997.

He said Bell never planned too far ahead, would show up for gigs in suspenders, and had a missing front tooth he never replaced. He had little formal education, and his reading and writing skills were limited, Iglauer said.

"He was just such a sweet, gentle guy, with a huge ability to laugh at himself," Iglauer said. "And he took great pleasure in bringing joy to other people. When he'd play harmonica and people applauded, he just loved it, he glowed."

Bell is survived by 10 children, including gifted blues guitarist and vocalist Lurrie Bell, with whom he recorded the 2004 album "Second Nature." Funeral arrangements are pending.

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press
Published in Chicago Tribune on May 7, 2007.
Memories & Condolences
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76 entries
April 25, 2019
Wonderful harp player and person. I had the privilege to meet and chat with him in Houston, Texas, circa 1997. Still cherish my autographed Carey Bell album.........R.I.P. Carey!
February 22, 2017
Nazarene Mckinney
October 4, 2015
It was a honor to have known Carey he was a great friend of my father, Elijah Abron. I remember when Carey and his band would perform in the corner of our small kitchen in the project on the westside of Chicago.
Bobbie Abron White
July 12, 2013
Sitting here With Carey Bell's widow, Patrica Dixon, yes Willi Dixon's daughter....we are in Blues heaven right now listening to her Carey.
His Patty will always love him misses him so much but we thank The Lord she has his recordings...Iam so honored to have meant Patty and right away become heart friends.?.
Just want you to know Carey that I'm 63 white blue eyed blonde who has love the real blues since I was 10,,,,?
Patty and Sindie
Sindie Brown
February 1, 2012
April 3, 2010
For Carey...In your day your
talent was widely recognized.


Do not weep for me when I no longer dwell among the wonders of the earth; for my larger self is free, and my soul rejoices on the other side of pain...on the other side of darkness.

Do not weep for me, for I am a ray of sunshine that touches your skin, a tropical breeze upon your face, the hush of joy within your heart and the innocence of babes in mothers arms.

I am the hope in a darkened night. And, in your hour of need, I will be there to comfort you. I will share your tears, your joys, your fears, your disappointments and your triumphs.

Do not weep for me, for I am cradled
in the arms of God. I walk with the angels, and hear the music beyond the stars.

Do not weep for me, for I am within you;
I am peace, love, I am a soft wind that caresses the flowers. I am the calm that follows a raging storm. I am an autumns leaf that floats among the garden of God, and I am pure white snow that softly falls upon your hand.

Do not weep for me, for I shall never die, as long as you remember me...
with a smile and a sigh.

© Joe Fazio
~ /Joe Fazio,
Beverly Hills, California
May 30, 2009
Thank the Lord for this GIFT of a person.
Bless his family and loved ones and build your ever-loving fence around them.
I salute Mr. Carey Bell and with his autographed CD held up high to see

Very respectfully,
Dwight Emerson
January 1, 2009
I loved this man with all my heart. His heart and talent were without bounds. Lurrie, I'll keep you in my prayers.
Janet Schmidt
October 5, 2008
I was fortunate to have met Carey Bell several times at Blue Heaven Recording Studio in Salina KS. He performed there on several occasions and was a very gracious and humble gentleman. I was fortunate enough to give him and his wife a ride back to their hotel after his show one friday night. Thanks for all the great music. You will be remembered and missed by all of those who saw you perform. Carey signed my guitar for me and it hangs on my wall in our rec room. He was always willing to take the time to sign for his fans. Carey was a great harp player and will always be in our hearts !!
Kim Teter
December 28, 2007
I was so sorry to hear of your loss. The thoughts of many are with you at this time of sorrow.
Brian Wong
October 20, 2007
To the family of the great Carey Bell-
My thoughts are with you all. I have had the honor and privlege to see Carey Bell perform a few years ago with his son at the Blue Heaven Studio in Salina, Kansas. Blue Heaven Studio just celebrated their 10th Anniversary Concert this weekend and it was in Carey Bell's memory and a few others, we unfortunately have lost this year. I love hearing the harp, Carey Bell was truly was the best!
Thank you Carey Bell for sharing your great talent with the world!
What great mememories your family must have.

With Heartfelt Sympathy
Jan Bergman
May 30, 2007
I cancelled my trip to Chicago to see Carey & Son at the Chicago Blues Fest on June 8th. I was very much looking forward to seeing Carey & Lurrie perform. I still cannot believe it. We lost a great one. My sympathies to Mr. Bell's family and freinds. GOD, get ready to have some fun up there.
May 22, 2007
Hey Carey,
your death struck like lighning.
It was a great honour to meet you.
Now, get your rest and God bless you.
Hey Lurrie,
I´ll pray for you and your whole family.
Matthias Franke
May 21, 2007
I'm honored to have been a friend of Carey Bell's for over 17 years. His sheer talent was mind-blowing and he was so humble about it. He had a wicked sense of humor and I am so fortunate to have known such a wonderful and talented man. The Blues world will never be the same without him ~ and neither will I.
Vicki Russell
May 21, 2007
I met Carey in 1988 in Bethsda, MD. at the Twist and Shout Club. I made sure that when he was performing in the DC area I would go see him. To the Bell Family I send sympathy.
Marvin Jackson
May 18, 2007
You played your piece, Mr. Bell, and the world will always remember you for it. What more could one want?
Phil Harmonica
May 17, 2007
My heart is with your family, Godspeed, you were truly a treasure, and I loved to hear you play.
Robin Overton
May 17, 2007
Thru his music, he lives forever in our hearts. At JJ Blues in San Jose, CA He will always be remembered
Brenda Avilla
May 16, 2007
You will be missed by many. May you rest in peace,
Zanne Mack
May 15, 2007
i have most all of Mr Bells music and he was a great inspiriration to my playing,i feel honored and privilaged to have met him many times...thank you and peace be with your family and fellow bluesmen...hey, hey, da blooze is aww right....
Bluepan Jerry
May 15, 2007

We have loved your music and we hope that your family will continue to share their God-given talents with the rest of the world. We will pray for your family especially Lurie who has lost so much so this year. It was a treat to watch you two together!
josh and jonesey Harp
May 15, 2007
The infamous Chicago wind has just lost some of it's kick. It was a privilege to have seen you play, Sir. We will never forget you.
Vini Demon
May 14, 2007
Thank you Mr.Carey,you helped me tremendously,Its nice to know you wont be tired anymore.Met you & Lurrie at the Atlanta History Center,it forever changed my style of harp playing & I'll keep on telling everybody about you.Rest in Peace....
Jimi Bahnsen
May 14, 2007
Peace Mr Bell, you were great.
God be with you
Luca Giordano
May 14, 2007
May the Lord watch over you.
Semitra Brown
May 13, 2007
The Lord's Blessing Upon You And Your Family, Remember the 60's, Amaze me once again! Till Then!
St, Peppers Brian Brinley
May 13, 2007
Rest well my Blues Brother! Will meet you on the other side!
Bluzman Dan Collins
May 13, 2007
Rest in peace Carey!
Cynthia Lane
May 12, 2007
rest in peace
May 12, 2007
We were so sorry to hear of your loss. The thoughts of many are with you at this time of sorrow.
Ennis & Thelma Jones
May 12, 2007
May 12, 2007
My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.
May 12, 2007
Rest In Peace, Mr. Bell. May God Grant Peace, Comfort and Understanding To Your Family.
Johnslynn Lewis
May 12, 2007
My heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of Carey Bell. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
May 12, 2007
My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.
Sharon H.
May 11, 2007
You are one of the greats.
V Roberts
May 11, 2007
back in the day their was three types of music on the,rock n roll and r and b if you were cool, i mean real,d listen to blues.I grew up in the bay area of no. calif. and thats what we did.So i know Carey bell and saint Gabriel are blowing sweet wind...keep it tight.
Jerald "Bullfrog" Amaya
May 11, 2007
May your soul rest in peace.
Eulas Watson
May 11, 2007
To the Bell family-
May God grant you peace during this difficult time.
Bridget Hall
May 11, 2007
Rest in Peace, Carey
Rafael Pillot
May 10, 2007
Rest in Peace.
Alexander Malich
May 10, 2007
rest in peace carey
lydia Watson
May 10, 2007
to the bell family,sorry to hear about your loss.may he rest in peace.
john w. gault
john gault
May 10, 2007
My sympathy to the family of Carey. One thing that will help you get through this situation is God's word the Bible. And there He assures us: "Jehovah is near to those that are Broken at Heart and those who are crushed in spirit He saves. the Bible gives you hope of seeing Carey again right here on a paradise earth in the very near future. It also promise us that our enemy death will be no more. May these words give you a measure of comfort and strength to endure in this time of such deep sorrow.
Gwen Parker
May 9, 2007
Thank you for all the great blues and for your great talent. Wish that we had seen you live but you live on in our cd's and our memories.
caryl & Rob Hodgdon
May 9, 2007
I love hearing about inspiring lives, and yours is one.
May 9, 2007
May God lift and keep,
your family pray with each
other in the name of Jesus Christ,
our soon coming king.
May 9, 2007
Rest in Peace.
Lisa Scott
May 9, 2007
Rest in Peace Carey, my thoughts and prayers are with your family.
Thank you for your music, you are a true Legend of the Blues
Fred Moore
May 9, 2007
Rest In Peace Mr Bell,

No more suffering, No more pain the storm is over now.
Odessa Rollins
May 9, 2007
Rest in peace. Always put on a great show!!!!
p sanford
May 9, 2007
May 9, 2007
Sorry to hear of Carey's passing.
kurt swanson
May 9, 2007
Rest In Peace
Sandy Bender
May 8, 2007
May 8, 2007
RIP to one of the finest legends of the blues. Carey was an inspiration to me and I'll always treasure the times I was fortunate enough to see and hear him perform. God Bless you Carey...
Brad Abernethy
May 8, 2007
Father we entrust our brother Carey to your mercy. You loved him greatly in this life: now that he is freed from all its cares, give him happiness and peace forever. Welcome him now into paradise where there will be no more sorrow, no more weeping or pain, but only peace and joy with Jesus your Son, and the Holy Spirit forever and ever.
May God hold Carey in the palm of His hand. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. My deepest sympathy
Michael Iezzi
May 8, 2007
Richard H. Herrick
May 8, 2007
I wasn't familiar with Mr Bell's music but I do enjoy the harmonica.

I'll remember his family in my prayers.

Rest In Peace, Mr. Bell!
Beverly Watkins
May 8, 2007
Sorry to hear of your loss. May GOD grant you comfort during this time of loss.
Shirley James
May 8, 2007
No bond is as great as that between a parent and child. Our deepest condolences are with you as you grieve.
BARBARA miller
May 8, 2007
May 8, 2007
our thoughts & prayers are with your family may god bless you all
barbara,ladonna,latoya &tony
barbara williams
May 8, 2007
May you rest in peace
Carmen Thomas
May 8, 2007
Please accept our deepest sympathies.
May 8, 2007
I have known Carey Bell for many years and it saddens me that another Chicago Legend has gone on to that Juke Joint In The Sky. I am so blessed to have known him, even for a short time. My prayers are with his family for comfort and solace. May God keep you in his tender, loving arms and give you peace. All the best.

I am on tour in Europe (Riga, Latvia)and received the news about his passing. Carey played here in Riga at Bites Blues Club in 2004 and the musicians (The Latvian Blues Band) here are deeply saddened by his passing. They also send their deepest condolences - Ziggy
Sharon Lewis
May 8, 2007
Carey bell was they greatest!
He blew his harp with a staccato and tone not of this earth, he was a colossus in the blues with the disposition of a teddy bear, in the forest of the blues a giant tree has fallen.
Walkin Cane Mark
May 8, 2007
S. Smith
May 8, 2007
loved you music in charleston south carolina
May 8, 2007
In dreams I saw the bridge of life over which each soul must go, and down beneath the rapids roar in the wildest winds that blow.The bridge itself is weak and worn from those that passed before, with any step the stumbling soul might slip and be no more, and why would God so kind not mend this dismal way, why would he let each precious life cross on that bridge each day? But when I raised my eyes above there coming through the night, I saw an angel, bright with grace who shone with love and light. He stopped beside that ancient bridge and to this day he stands, beside each soul that walks there on to guide with tender hands, and then I knew there was no man who walked that bridge alone, For God's own's angels guard our way and light the dark unknown.May God comfort the family in this time and Carey may you rest in peace for you were truly an inspiration and a great man. with all my love.
Stacie Rose
May 8, 2007
Thomas Widgeon
May 8, 2007
Rest in Peace Carey.
Sheila Smith
May 8, 2007
Your the best!!!
A.D. Tooley
May 8, 2007
May God Bless............
tyrone lane
May 7, 2007
May 7, 2007
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