Linda WigginsSouthern born, but long time resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, Linda Wiggins is on the short list of the Bay Area's best blues/ R&B keyboard player/vocalists. She was born in Dumas, Arkansas and started playing piano at an early age when her family moved to Texas. She's always kept the flavor of her Southern roots, whether it is frying up okra or playing blues piano. Her mother played piano in the church, as did Linda when she was a teenager, beginning the development of her gospel piano technique. Listening to recordings of the old masters like Jelly Roll Morton, Professor Longhair, as well as later artists like Fats Domino and Ray Charles, Linda draws upon all in her style of piano playing. A few years into her career, she started also incorporating the Hammond B-3 organ. Linda says "whenever it came time to move, my main concern was finding space to accommodate the B-3, rather than being picky about roommates...."Yeah, I can be vegetarian, a dog lover..whatever.". She recalls one night driving to a gig, up a particularly steep San Francisco street, when she heard a scraping sound from the B-3 in the back of her van. Linda realized the "brakes" weren't set on the organ dolly, and with a lot of sheer will, reached back and held the contraption while she inched up to the hill top to turn to a more hospitable flat street.
In the 1990's Linda put together a large R&B band called "Linda Lou's Hipshakin' R&B Revue" covering lots of Etta James, Otis Redding, and other old school R&B. She says it was a labor of love, writing horn charts for about 80 of her favorite obscure R&B tunes . Mz. Dee and Diane Swann both sang with that band. Linda also has a versatile band called "Finesse", and she has a fair amount of solo gigs, too. She has performed with or recorded with such local blues and R&B artists as Mz Dee, Pamela Hawkins, Diane Swann (originally an Ikette with Ike & Tina Turner), Glenn Walters, Frank Biner and Linda Tillery. She recently completed a 3 week engagement at a Paris blues/R&b nightclub, performing on B-3, piano and vocals, backing up Pamela Hawkins, along with the French house musicians.....she says the Parisians call the music"Err and Bay" (R&B) and the audiences were enthusiastic and welcoming. Linda is looking forward to the return engagement there in Paris (backing Mz. Dee), Jan 7, 8, 14 and 15. She is currently working on a CD, to be released in early spring, 2005, and continues to play Bay Area clubs.
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