Otis Clay: 1942-2016

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As many of you may have heard, the great soul, blues and gospel singer Otis Clay passed away suddenly this month in Chicago. We feel fortunate that he performed at SPACE so many times throughout the years, leaving us with wonderful memories of his powerful, passionate, and electrifying shows. His funeral on January 16th at Chicago’s Liberty Baptist Church drew an overflow crowd including soul and blues luminaries such as Jerry Butler, Gene Chandler, Joe Simon, Syl Johnson, Gene Barge, Cicero Blake and Billy Branch. U.S. Congressman Danny Davis read a tribute that he gave on the floor of Congress a few days after Otis’ passing. Otis had an amazing career and left us with a rich and diverse legacy of music. From his early gospel days with groups like The Sensational Nightingales and Pilgrim Harmonizers, to his first soul recordings on Chicago’s One-Derful label, to his classic sides on Cotillion, Hi Records and his own Echo label — and more recently receiving a Grammy nomination and being inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. One recent highlight was Otis’ performance at the Message In Blue album release show at SPACE as well as his moving contributions to the CD. We’ll miss him deeply and cherish the memories he left us with. —Dave Specter (Photo: Harvey Tillis)

Posted January 21st, 2016

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