[JPL] Paul deLay, blues legend, dies in Portland OR

TradeSecrets/Mancuso's TradeSecrets at comcast.net
Wed Mar 7 18:53:29 EST 2007

We have lost a tremendously gifted musician.

That he had such a serious condition, undiagnosed, is another wake-up call
for us to work as hard as we can for accessible healthcare for everyone.  No
one should die like this.

May you rest in peace, Paul.

Jan & Ric Mancuso
Portland, OR

>From Oregonlive.com

Paul deLay, local blues legend, dies

Posted by John Foyston March 07, 2007 14:01PM

Paul deLay, the larger-than-life Portland bluesman who redefined the
harmonica and its musical potential, died this morning at Providence
Portland Medical Center from end-stage leukemia diagnosed just days before.
He was 55.

"He was the most inventive harmonica player in the history of the planet,"
says John Mazzocco, who played bass with deLay for several years in the
1990s. "He was gifted -- he had incredible tone, but more important, he
could look at things differently than any other harmonica player. He was the
best in the world."

"He was the best harmonica player in the blues world," says bassist Jimmy
Lloyd Rea, from Baker City. "His big body -- mind, heart and soul -- was in
every note he ever played."

DeLay recorded a dozen albums in his four-decade career, won several music
awards and was nominated for a W.C. Handy Award. He and his band toured
constantly, and his last show was just last Saturday -- a benefit show at
Klamath Fall's Ross Ragland Theater.

"What amazes me is the energy he brought to the show," says guitarist Pete
Dammann, who played in deLay's bands for the past two decades. "He wasn't
pirouetting onstage, but he was joking and yakking with the crowd, and he
played hard. We did two long sets, and nobody had any idea anything like
this was going on."

Neither did deLay. After that show, Dammann says, deLay felt under the
weather, presumably from bronchitis he'd suffered on the band's recent jaunt
to Mexico for several benefit shows. But doctors found that deLay was
suffering from leukemia so advanced that his organs began shutting down and
he lapsed into a coma from which he apparently never recovered.

Paul Joseph deLay was born Jan. 31, 1952 in Portland, where he lived all his
life. In the early 1970, he and then-drummer Lloyd Jones and guitarist Jim
Mesi formed an electric blues band called Brown Sugar and played to eager
crowds up and down the West Coast. They laid the foundation for Portland's
reputation as one of the country's great blues towns.

Nineteen seventy-six saw the formation of the Paul deLay Blues Band, which
toured hard for more than a decade. At the same time, deLay suffered from
alcohol and cocaine problems. In January of 1990, deLay was busted for
cocaine trafficking and eventually served time in the federal prison in
Sheridan. But before that sentence, deLay cleaned up and started writing and
recording his own music with a new band.

While deLay was in prison, his band played on as the No Delay Band, and it
was waiting when he got out. They went on to record ground-breaking albums
such as "Ocean of Tears" and "Nice and Strong," and Evidence Records
released his two post-bust albums -- evidence that whoever said there are no
second acts to American lives had never heard of Paul deLay.

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