Byther Smith had once said this about the lyrics he writes - "This is what I search for in my heart all the time, to try to get something across to the people, to get them to feel what I feel". One of the significant contributors to the Chicago blues scene, Smith is considered a living legend, with a career that boasts of performances with blues greats like Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, Jimmy Reed and Howlin Wolf. Even today, as Smith tours and performs regularly, his gospel-drenched voice and the electrifying notes from his Stratocaster leave the crowds hungry for more. Blues fans can feel the pain and bitterness in all his songs, which include “Judge Of Honor”, “Living In Pain”, “Runnin' To New Orleans”, Don't Hurt Me No More”, “Ashamed Of Myself”, “ President's Daughter”, “I Don't Know Where You Go”, “Cora, You Made A Man Out Of Me”, “Blues On The Moon”, “Give Me My White Robe”, “Your Daughter Don't Want Me No More”, “Monticello Lonely” and the evergreen “Mississippi Kid”.
Born Byther Claude Earl John Smith on April 17, 1932 in Monticello, Mississippi, Smith’s childhood was traumatic. The death of his parents and one of his siblings had turned young Smith’s world upside down. Solace came to him in the form of music, and it was his aunt who bought him his first Fender bass. His cousin and legendary blues guitarist J.B. Lenoir advised him to move to Chicago, which he did in the late 1950s. Smith took guitar lessons from Louis Myers, Robert Lockwood, Freddy Robinson and Hubert Sumlin, and played with Otis Rush, Big Mama Thornton, Junior Wells, Chuck Berry and George "Harmonica" Smith. The 1960s and 1970s saw Smith recording for independent labels like CJ, BeBe, Ena, Bea & Baby, Cruz and Apex. The album Tell Me How You Like It was produced by Smith in 1983 and it brought him plenty of shows in Europe. He kept recording too, and came up with successful albums like Addressing the Nation With the Blues, Housefire and I'm a Mad Man. Later came the albums include Smitty’s Blues, Hold That Train, Throw Away the Book, Blues on the Moon, and Got No Place to Go in 2008.
Not one to shirk his responsibilities towards his family, Smith worked for 25 years at the Economy Folding Box Company, and retired in July 1995. Though he has more time for his music now, Smith had once said, “If people write about me after I'm gone, I wish they'd say, 'He was a working man'”. They sure will.
And creating Blues Backing Tracks in the style of Byther Smith is what this Category is all about..