Blacky Jo James passed away this year physically, but the music & spirit she placed into our hearts, landed in fertle ground. She has real friends forever.
Blackie Jo James - Wild is the feeling this woman exudes as the lead vocalist for the Natives, not only with her voice but with her motion-filled stage presence. Blackie Jo brings her native roots of New Orleans, Louisiana the home of rhythm & blues, to the group without hesitation. She began her musical career at the age of 14, moving right along at the age of 16, to go on the road singing back-up vocals for Mr. "Ya-Ya" himself, Lee Dorsey. Blackie Jo then progressed in her talents and eventually moved to Seattle, performing with Gary Givens & Friends in the early 80's. They opened up for major acts on tour through Seattle such as The Drifters and Jack McDuff. Before forming her own group in the mid 80's, Blackie Jo sat in with every major blues band in Seattle, at clubs and festival appearances in addition to gigs at the Monroe & McNeil Island State Penitentiaries. Sitting in allowed Blackie to improve her ability to improvise, as well as giving her the best pick of players for her group. Her influences include Etta James, Tina Turner, Muddy Waters, Arthur Connelly & Otis Redding, to name a few. Seattle Press Article June 14, 2000
Coleman "Man About Town " Brown - Coleman graduated from Seattle's own Garfield High School, and since then has developed into a versatile musician performing on lead guitar & electric bass, keyboards & drums, as well as vocals. This versatility allows him to be comfortable with many styles including R&B jazz, blues, reggae, zydeco, rock & pop. He began playing electric guitar in the early 60's with various Seattle area bands, and after forming several different bands with other people, he eventually joined his brother Herman and his cousins Ronald and Frank to form , Just Us(later becoming Septimus). As his career progressed, he moved to Los Angeles, both to be closer to the "national musical scene" and to learn more about the industry in general. His abilities as a songwriter and musical techniques also developed while living in L.A. In the early 80's Coleman headed back to Seattle to form his own record company, Fun Hole Records, (with band members from Septimus) and Brown Brothers Productions. In the late 80's Coleman and Septimus moved their operation to Canada, however he is currently performing with Blackie & The Natives in Seattle.
Leon "Hitman" Campbell - Born & raised in the great Northwest, Leon has spent a lifetime developing his quite funky style of drumming. He's performed with such national & Northwest jazz & blues greats as Lazy Lester, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Paul Delay, Isaac Scoft, Tom McFarland, Mlchael Powers, David Brewer, Led Jaxon and more. Leon has traveled from Los Angeles to Alaska playing all varieties and styles of music, however his specialty is funk & soul, matching him perfectly to the addictive beat of The Natives.
Kenny "The Dancer Prancer" Pryer - Born & raised as a second generation bluesman, in the blues' adopted home of Chicago, Kenny has been performing since the age of 15, playing with his father and other musicians including Fenton Robinson, Little Milton, Hip Link-Chain and Nolan Struck. His musical education extended into the bars & streets of Chicago, allowing the blues to become a natural part of his existence. He provides the band with much of it's enthusiastic & fun loving spirit, as well as a rock solid bottom on the Fender bass. Kenny has that raw talent that many people only dream of having,which has helped him to gain the attention of some of the legendary blues artists of our time, acknowledging him as a bass-de-force to be reckoned with.