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uncropped original chicago blues fest -p

Photo credit:

James Fraher

Paul Oscher

Miss Helen Herns Moon Light Lounge | St. Louis, Missouri | 1968

Miss Helen Herns Moon Light Lounge,1968

St. Louis, Missouri

Sadly, Paul Oscher passed away on April 18, 2021 due to complications associated with COVID-19. He fought a great fight and was supporting the museum and the vision until the very end of his life.  


While Paul was in the hospital he made several significant contributions as a board member by hosting a fundraiser drive via social media and making numerous calls to people for donations to support the museum. 


Please keep his family, fans, fellow blues musicians, and friends in prayer during this time. If you knew Paul, he would want the blue community to fight even harder right now for him and for Muddy. We gained another angel watching over this project as we continue to move forward.



Paul is a blues legend. As a blues singer and multi-instrumentalist – harmonica, guitar, and piano – who while still in his teens, became the first Caucasian member of the great Muddy Waters Blues Band (1967-1971).

Paul lived in Muddy’s house on Chicago’s South Side and shared the basement with blues piano player Otis Spann. Paul played the Chitlin’ Circuit and recorded with Muddy for the legendary Chess Records Company. He traveled the world with Muddy. 

Besides Muddy, he has performed and/or recorded with T-Bone Walker, Eric Clapton, Otis Spann, John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, Levon Helm, Keith Richards, Johnny Young, Johnny Copeland, Big Joe Turner, Louisiana Red, Big Mama Thornton, Victoria Spivey, and many others. 

As Muddy Waters' harp player, Paul Oscher inspired a whole generation of blues players including Rick Estrin, Jerry Portnoy, Paul Delay, and William Clark. Paul Oscher is the real deal, he learned his blues from the masters. He played only the real, unadulterated, down-in-the–alley, gutbucket blues. He was not a retro player. He just plays the blues the way he learned them… lowdown and lonesome, and has been doing so for the last fifty years. 

Paul was also featured playing harmonica, guitar, and singing on Hubert Sumlin's Grammy Nominated Album, "About Them Shoes."

Paul has won two Handy Blues Music Awards and has 9 Blues Music Award nominations

In 2006 he collaborated with Mos Def and recorded the song "Bed Stuy Parade and Funeral March" on Mos Def's Gold album "New Danger." 

He recorded with Keb Mo' in 2008 on the soundtrack of the film about the Blues, "Who Do You Love," and he also recorded on Keb Mo's "Suitcase Album. 


In 2016 he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Clarksdale Mississippi along with James Cotton and Lazy Lester. He is also the recipient of the President’s Award from “SPAH” the Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica.

In 2018, Paul will be inducted to the New York Blues Hall Of Fame.


Paul Oscher has also appeared in many documentaries and books about the blues and was in the process of writing his own book about his life in the blues. 

Paul Oscher resided in Austin Texas where, when he was not on the road, he could be found locally performing with his All-Star Six-Piece Blues Band.

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