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Musicians that have played on the DQ

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    Musicians that have played on the DQ

    Having had the pleasure of playing on both the Delta Queen and the Memphis Queen many years ago, I thought that if we all were to write letters it may help.
    It would be interesting to see how many legends played on the DQ. (or future legends)

    Colonel Robert Morris

    Danny Barker, 1909-1994

    My favorite DELTA QUEEN musical "legend" was Danny Barker of New Orleans. Though considered one of the greats of jazz history, Danny Barker, was both friendly and approachable, yet shy. Between sets, Mr. Barker could be found in the Boiler Room hanging with his pal, Fireman Ed Smith, a legendary steamboatman in his own right.

    More about Danny Barker:
    Guitarist and banjoist Danny Barker, a nephew of drummer Paul Barbarin, discovered his interest in music at an early age and was soon taking clarinet lessons from Barney Bigard. Because of his uncle, Danny was often found cutting school and following many bands around town witnessing some of the finest New Orleans had to offer including bands led by Buddy Bolden and Bunk Johnson, the Imperial, the Eagle and the Superior. This led to his first gig playing banjo, subbing for an intoxicated Babe Son in Kid Rena's band. After this suprising debut, Barker began taking banjo lessons from George Augustin of the Imperial band, and came under the direct influence of Lorenzo Stall, Buddy Bolden's banjoist. It was not long before he was called the "Banjo King of New Orleans".

    In 1930 Barker moved north to New York City where he switched from banjo to guitar and in 1938 joined Benny Carter's Big Band and from 1939 to 1949 was the rhythm guitarist for Cab Calloway. In 1947 he took a job as guitarist for the "Jazz on the River" weekend cruises up and down the Hudson river where he played with fellow New Orleanians Albert Nicholas, Pops Foster, Baby Dodds, pianist James P. Johnson and cornetist Wild Bill Davison. Barker then worked as a freelance rhythm man around New York playing and recording with Sidney Bechet, Mezz Mezzrow, Bunk Johnson, Edmond Hall, and Henry "Red" Allen.

    By 1965 Barker had moved back to New Orleans and married singer Blue Lu Barker splitting his time between performing with his wife and the Fairview Baptist Church Christian Band, which he founded, lecturing on traditional jazz, and working as Assistant to the Curator of the New Orleans Jazz museum. Mr. Barker was a frequent performer on the DELTA QUEEN in the early 1970's.
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