Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong (March 4, 1909 – July 30, 2003) was an African American string band and country blues musician, who played fiddle, mandolin, and guitar and also sang. He was also a notable visual artist and raconteur.
As a young teenager he taught himself to play the fiddle, and joined a band led by Blind Roland Martin and his brother Carl. They toured the United States performing a wide range of music, from work songs and spirituals through popular Tin Pan Alley tunes and foreign language songs.
After serving in World War II, Armstrong moved to Detroit and worked in the auto industry until 1971. Around this time, Armstrong was contacted by Terry Zwigoff, a fan of his "State Street Rag" recording. Zwigoff's interest in Armstrong eventually blossomed into a one-hour documentary, Louie Bluie, released in 1985.
Armstrong was later the subject of another documentary, Sweet Old Song. He continued to perform with a younger generation of musicians, and released his first solo album Louie Bluie on Blue Suit Records in 1995, earning him a W.C. Handy Award nomination. He died in Boston, Massachusetts, aged 94, following a heart attack.