Lowell Fulsom “Tramp” Kent Records (1967) (1921 – 1999) Check out both Fulsom’s Tramp and the Joe Tex response “Papa Was Too” (Sampled by Wu-Tang Clan).
A major figure in West Coast blues, Fulson (sometimes listed as Fulsom) took the smooth, jazz-tinged jump-blues of Texas to California, where he had rhythm-and-blues hits from the 1940s to the 60s. He wrote songs that were also recorded by Elvis Presley (“Reconsider Baby”), Otis Redding and Carla Thomas (“Tramp”) and B.B. King (“Three O’Clock Blues”). He was a member of the Blues Hall of Fame and the Rhythm-and-Blues Hall of Fame.
Fulson was born in 1921 on a Choctaw Indian reservation in Oklahoma; his grandfather was a Choctaw. Fulson played gospel and country music before turning to the blues. In 1939 he replaced Chester Burnett (later known as Howlin’ Wolf) in the band led by the country-blues singer Texas Alexander, who was based in Gainesville, Texas. He served two years in the Navy in Oakland, Calif., and stayed on the West Coast when he began his recording career in 1946.
He had his first rhythm-and-blues hit, “Three O’Clock Blues,” on the Swingtime label in 1948, and went on tour in 1950 with a band that included Ray Charles on piano. Other bands Fulson led would include Ike Turner on guitar and Stanley Turrentine or King Curtis on tenor saxophone. He continued to have hits, including a version of Memphis Slim’s “Nobody Loves Me” that he retitled “Everyday I Have the Blues,” and his own song, “Blue Shadows,” in 1950. Although he lived in California, he began recording for the Chicago- based Checker label (part of Chess Records) in 1954, when he had a hit with “Reconsider Baby.”
He moved in 1964 to Kent Records, recording as Lowell Fulsom, and his soul- styled “Tramp” reached No. 5 on the rhythm-and-blues chart in 1967. He continued to tour and record well into the 1990s, with albums for European labels and, most recently, for the Rounder and Bullseye Blues labels. He won five W.C. Handy blues awards in 1993 and his 1995 album, “Them Update Blues” (Bullseye Blues), was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues album.