& THE SOUL
Mickey Rogers, a self-styled “blues and rhythm and blues” musician, was born Roosevelt Rogers, Jr. in Panther Burn, Mississippi in 1944. As a boy, he often traveled back and forth by train to Chicago, once with the young, aspiring singer Tyrone Davis with whom he would later work in Chicago.
He formed a teen band, The Shades, on the west side, and sang street-corner doo-wop. Occasionally he’d hear Howlin’ Wolf ’s band rehearse, and pick up guitar pointers from Hubert Sumlin. Also as a teen, he sat in on bass with Wolf ’s band at Silvio’s. He accompanied Wolf ’s band to England in the early 1960s where the Rolling Stones opened for Wolf. In Chicago, he worked as a sideman in the Chi-Lites and spent nearly sixteen years with Tyrone Davis’s band, eventually touring with both groups.
On the southern circuit with Davis he met Ike and Tina Turner, with whom he and his cousin later became dancers, touring the Midwest for several weeks. Also on the road he met and played with Jimi Hendrix, then a sideman with the Isley Brothers. During an extended stay in Detroit, he worked in a house band backing the Funk Brothers, The Pips, and the Elgins. He befriended and played with many of the Motown artists of the time, which led to accompanying Motown tour packages in backup bands for Martha Reeves, Marvin Gaye, Tammy Terrell, and others.
Returning to Chicago, he worked with gospel maestro Otis Clay for years, then also bluesman Bobby Rush—both in Chicago and later down south, after each had moved back to Mississippi. Remaining active in Mississippi, Rogers became accompanist to harp blower Willie Foster, with whom he recorded and toured Europe three times.
This will be a rare treat to see him since Rogers is mainly found close to home these days, performing at clubs and festivals in such north Mississippi locations as Oxford, Leland, Indianola, Clarksdale, and Greenville, where The Greenville Blues Walk Association recently honored Mickey Rogers in the Walnut Street Sidewalk Blues Artist Walk.