|Frederick Martin Roulette|
May 3, 1939 |
Evanston, Illinois, United States
|Genres||Chicago blues, electric blues|
|Instruments||Lap steel guitar|
|Labels||Janus, Rykodisc, others|
|Daphne Blue / Ray Bronner, Henry Kaiser, Harvey Mandel, Earl Hooker, the Holmes Brothers|
Frederick Martin "Freddie" Roulette (born May 3, 1939) is an American electric blues lap steel guitarist and singer. He is best known as an exponent of the lap steel guitar. He is a member of the band Daphne Blue and has collaborated with Earl Hooker, Charlie Musselwhite, Henry Kaiser, and Harvey Mandel. He has also released several solo albums. One commentator described Roulette as an "excellent musician".
Roulette's family was originally from New Orleans, but he was born and raised in Evanston, Illinois. He learned to play the steel guitar in high school. He started playing in clubs in Chicago in his teens, and in 1965 began work in Earl Hooker's backing band, touring and performing with him until 1969.
Hooker's band, with the pianist Pinetop Perkins, the harmonica player Carey Bell, the vocalist Andrew Odom, and Roulette, was "widely acclaimed" and "considered one of the best Earl had ever carried with him". Roulette performed on several of Hooker's singles; his 1967 album, The Genius of Earl Hooker; and the 1969 follow-up, Two Bugs and a Roach.
Roulette later developed a friendship with Charlie Musselwhite and (credited as Fred Roulette) recorded with him on the 1969 album Chicago Blue Stars. He toured with Musselwhite and backed him on the albums Tennessee Woman and Memphis, Tennessee, before relocating to the San Francisco, California, area where he has lived ever since. He played there in a band with Luther Tucker and recorded with Earl Hooker's cousin John Lee Hooker.
After leaving Chicago for the San Francisco Bay area Roulette began "teaming up with the 14-year-old guitarist Ray Bronner ('Daphne Blue Ray'), and some veterans from Chicago in the band Daphne Blue, Freddie was often joined by 'Big Moose' (Johnny Walker), 'Pinetop Perkins' and Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown at gigs and on record." "Freddie released an album, 'Daphne Blue: Legendary Blues Instrumentals' which contains 15 excellent tracks, which he considers to be among his finest works." As of 2015, "Freddie still plays with the San Francisco based 'Daphne Blue', with Blue Ray Bronner."
In 1973, Roulette released his debut solo album, Sweet Funky Steel, which was produced by the guitarist Harvey Mandel.Don "Sugarcane" Harris played on several tracks. Over the next twenty years, Roulette continued to perform with other musicians and occasionally led his own band, while also working full-time as an apartment manager. On the 1996 album Psychedelic Guitar Circus, he worked in a group with Mandel, Kaiser and Steve Kimock. He recorded his 1997 solo album, Back in Chicago: Jammin' with Willie Kent and the Gents, with Willie Kent and Chico Banks. The album won an award from Living Blues magazine as Best Blues Album of 1997. Following that album's success, Roulette began performing widely at blues festivals and recorded the 1998 album Spirit of Steel, featuring the Holmes Brothers and produced by Kaiser. He also contributed to Kaiser's album Yo Miles, a tribute to Miles Davis.
Roulette's solo album Man of Steel (2006) featured guitar playing by Will Bernard and David Lindley; Kaiser also played guitar and produced the album. It was recorded in Fantasy Studios, in Berkeley, California, and included strains of jazz, country, soul and reggae in the overall blues setting. In the same year, Roulette played locally in a small combo including Mike Hinton.
Roulette has played at numerous music festivals over the years, including the Long Beach Blues Festival, the San Francisco Blues Festival (1979), and the Calgary Folk Music Festival (2000). He continues to play club dates in the San Francisco area, often with Mandel. In 2012, Jammin' With Friends was recorded at three separate studios with various musicians. It was produced by Michael Borbridge, who also played drums on all the tracks.
|1969||Chicago Blue Stars
with Charlie Musselwhite, Skip Rose, Louis Myers, Jack Myers, Fred Below, Steve Kimock, Harvey Mandel
|Blue Thumb Records|
|1973||Sweet Funky Steel||Janus Records|
with Randy Resnick
|Resmo/Night & Day|
|1996||Psychedelic Guitar Circus
with Henry Kaiser, Steve Kimock and Harvey Mandel
|1997||Back in Chicago: Jammin' with Willie Kent and the Gents||Hi Horse Records|
|1999||Spirit of Steel||Tradition & Moderne Records|
|2000||Black White & Blue: Daphne Blue Band||Daphne Blue|
|2000||10 Picture Disk||Hi Horse Records|
|2006||Man of Steel||Tradition & Moderne Records|
|2012||Jammin' with Friends||Electric Snake|
|2015||Daphne Blue, The Legendary Blues Instrumentals
featuring Earl Hooker, Ray Bronner, Freddie Roulette, PineTop Perkins, Big Moose Walker, and Buddy Miles
|Steel Blue Records (reissue of vinyl collectors' edition album)|