Osceola-Born Bluesman Dies in Chicago

Son Seals 1942-2004
Son Seals 1942-2004

DECEMBER 22, 2004 - Posted at 10:19 a.m. CST

CHICAGO, IL - A blues singer and guitarist born in Region 8, who electrified the Chicago blues scene with his gritty performances, has died at the age of 62.

Frank "Son" Seals died yesterday in a Richton Park, Illinois nursing home of complications from diabetes.

He was born in Osceola, and began his musical career as a drummer.

Seals was in his late 20s when he began playing in South Side clubs in the early 70s.  His performances challenged audience notions of polite, country bluesmen.

Seals was part of a group of emerging Chicago blues musicians that included Hound Dog Taylor and Lonnie Brooks.  As a boy who grew up in his father's Osceola blues club, The Dipsy Doodle, Seals told biographers he was heavily influenced by Osceola blues legend Albert King, who played in the Dipsy Doodle and also taught Seals about the guitar.

His rough vocals and slicing guitar drew praise from critics.  Rolling Stone magazine called Seals' 1976 "Midnight Son" album "one of the most significant blues albums of the decade."

He is survived by his sister, Katherine Sims, and 14 children.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)