Jeff Morgan, (515) 281-3858 or
Tom Gary, firstname.lastname@example.org
(DES MOINES) ––Local
blues musicians will pull together for a day honoring legendary Bluesman Jimmy
“Midnite Cowboy” Pryor from 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on Sept. 10 at the State
Historical Museum, 600 E. Locust, Des Moines.
The Jimmy “Midnite
Cowboy” Pryor Tribute and Show will include at least 14 acts, food, and
a silent and live auction with proceeds benefiting Pryor’s recent medical
bills and the Jimmy Pryor Music Scholarship Fund.
“This is really a
day to honor one of Des Moines’ most beloved entertainers,” said Tom
Gary, organizer of the event. “He’s given so much to the blues community,
it’s time we show him our support in return.”
Pryor landed in Des Moines
in 1960, and quickly became popular on the Center Street strip, a bustling black
community in then-segregated Des Moines. For years, he worked the local circuit
and even played country music in local supper clubs in the 1970s, a time when
Blues music was waning in popularity. In 1999, Pryor was inducted into the Iowa
Blues Hall of Fame.
Today, Pryor is the frontman
of Fat Tuesday and the Greasefire Horns and led his band to first place at the
Iowa Blues Challenge in 2000. Although his health has suffered in recent months,
he has now recovered enough to perform at the Tribute event and Des Moines Mayor
Frank Cownie will be presenting him with a Key to the City at 2 p.m.
Memorabilia from Pryor’s
collection will be on display during the event, and visitors are encouraged to
visit the State Historical Museum’s exhibit, Patten’s Neighborhood:
Memories of the Center Street Community, featuring materials from Robert
E. Patten, who operated a Des Moines printing business serving the African-American
community from the 1920s through the 1960s. Patten printed many of the social
club events posters that provide a glimpse into the Center Street nightlife.
“The Center Street
community was integral to the development of Des Moines’ blues scene,”
said State Historical Museum Curator Jack Lufkin. “The neighborhood would
spring to life as residents flocked to nightspots that featured black entertainers
such as Louis Armstrong. And on some nights, when the doors swung open, everyone
around could hear Jimmy Pryor playing.”
The event is sponsored
by the Central Iowa Blues Society and the State Historical Society of Iowa. For
all events occurring at the State Historical Building, visit www.iowahistory.org.
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