MR. BO, DETROIT BLUESMAN, DIES AT 63

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Eric LeBlanc-CISTI

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Dec 18, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/18/95
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MR. BO [LOUIS BO COLLINS] b. 1932/APR/07, INDIANOLA, MS
d. 1995/SEP/19, DETROIT, MI

Here's an obit on MR. BO that will appear in BLues & Rhythm #106. You'll notice
RELIC LP 8003 : THREE SHADES OF BLUES is mentioned in the text - it has just
been made available as RELIC CD 7110. And according to the recent Living
Blues, MR. BO did record in the spring of 1995 & did a recent Detroit TV ad!

eRIC
LOUIS COLLINS aka MR. BO
========================
Rein Wisse of Block Magazine rang B&R with the sad news of the death of the
Detroit bluesman Louis Collins, known professionally as Mr. Bo. It appears that
Collins died on September 19th, 1995, in Detroit but there was little
coverage in the specialist press and the usual sources of information. Born in
Indianola, Mississippi in 1932, Collins, like his brother, the bandleader Mac
Collins became a stalwart of the Detroit blues scene during the barren days of
the 1960s and dissapointingly he made few appearances on record, save for a
handful of rare 45s. Collins left Mississippi in 1946, first moving to Chicago,
then to Baldwin, Michigan in 1951, before settling in Detroit. Once in Detroit
he played gigs with John Lee Hooker, Eddie Burns, Little Sonny Willis and Boogie
Woogie Red, however he did not make it onto wax until 1959 when he signed with
Johnnie Mae Mathews Northern label cutting Im leaving This Town/Times Hard
(Northern 3731), supported by his brother Mac on bass.

Four sides that were originally unissued and waxed for Lupine at the turn of the
decade eventually turned up on the vinyl album Three Shades of Blues (Relic
8003)*, which also featured material by Eddie Kirkland and Bennie McCain and The
Ohio Untouchables. It is also rumoured that Collins may have cut with Little Joe
Blue, and Bobo Jenkins around this time. He also waxed one 45 for Reel Records,
Heartache And Trouble/Calipso Blues (sic) (Reel 222).

By the mid Sixties he had signed to Big D Records, a record label owned by local
businessman Diamond Jim Riley who appeared to have a stranglehold on Mr. Bo's
career. He issued three 45s by Mr. Bo and further sides followed on the Diamond
Jim label. This association ended in 1971 when Riley was killed in a Detroit
bar. Collins issued a 45 in 1972 on his own Gold Top label which was sold at his
gigs.

Like Little Joe Blue, Mr. Bo was notably influenced by BB King (and often dubbed
by blues critics as a second rate BB King), Mr. Bo appeared, with Mac Collins
band, as part of a Detroit blues package show at the 1973 Ann Arbor Blues And
Jazz Festival (see review section). In B&R 51, (April 1990) in a feature on the
current scene in Detroit there was talk of Blues Factory Records cutting an
album with Mr. Bo, but nothing more was heard. He made a welcome visit to Europe
in 1993 when he played Utrecht and in Juke Blues 30, Jonothan Varjabedian
produced a fine article and interview with Collins. Sadly under recorded, Mr. Bo
was one of the blues artists who kept the blues scene alive in the Motor City
for over three decades. It would be interesting to find out if he ever did cut
that album for Blues Factory.

Tony Burke

Richard Shurman

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Dec 18, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/18/95
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Mr. Bo never did the Blues Factory session, but cut a whole CD worth of
material within the last year for someone in Toledo who is trying to
place it. He also has one cut on the live CD of the Detroit Blues set at
Ann Arbor '73 on Schoolkids.

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