Instruments: Vocals, Guitar
Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California
Home:Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Debbie Bond is a sassy lady from T-Town who earned recognition when asked to join forces with legendary bluesman Johnny Shines in 1984. She and her group, The Kokomo Blues Band performed with Shines throughout the South until his death in 1992.

A native of Los Angeles, Bond made her debut as a 13-year-old folk singer on a West African television program. She later sang back up for a rhythm and blues band while attending university in Brighton, England.

With her move to Tuscaloosa in 1979, she stepped to center stage and formed her current group. Other collaborations include the all female trio, The Night Shades and The Breakbone Blues Band, winner of the 1989 Chunky Blues Festival Talent Search.

Debbie has been active in promoting the Blues and seeing that the early pioneers are remembered and given the recognition they deserve. She and, Mike McCracken, have organized and conducted Blues Camps in schools as part of the Alabama Blues Project.

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

I was born in Los Angles California. My father was a Baptist minister and my mother directed the church's choir. Music definitely ran in the family on both sides! My grandmother was a professional opera singer whose brother was a jazz trumpet player. My great-grandfather played guitar and had a family group with all his children either playing or singing in it. My mom majored in voice and sang to me a lot as a baby. She also says I sang long before I could talk! My fondest childhood memories are of my mother playing the piano and our family singing together.

A big change happened when I was 8 years old. Our family moved to England where my father had a scholarship to go back to school. My mother eventually went back to school too and became an anthropologist. She bought me a guitar when I was 12 and exposed me to different cultures throughout my life. I've been lucky enough to have lived for short periods of time in Germany, Holland, England, Scotland, and even spent two years in Sierra Leone, West Africa! In West Africa, music is a big part of daily life and I experienced some of the most wonderful live music and dancing that you could imagine! I made my performing debut at the age of 13 on a national television music show in Sierra Leone. Besides African music, I heard lots of good American blues and R&B there too - which was very popular at the time.

It was in England that I really got turned on to the blues. Our house was always full of people and instruments from all over the world. Our parties usually turned into jam sessions with lots of dancing and live music. Music was in my bones and I never seemed to get enough of it. While in College in Brighton, England, I was in my first R&B band. After I graduated, I took advantage of my American passport and came over to see the States, visit and meet some of my relatives, and work for a while - and I'm still here!

I was immediately amazed by Alabama's rich musical culture - especially the gospel and blues. I formed The Kokomo Blues Band. In 1981, we hooked up with Johnny Shines who had basically retired from the music business. Like many blues artists, Johnny was a legend in Europe but almost unknown in his own hometown. You could go in the smallest of record stores in England and see his records for sale but couldn't find one here. We continued to back Johnny, on and off, for over 8 years. We backed him on his last gig on this planet. Our close friendship and collaboration will always be one of my most treasured memories. Here's a real audio file of an impromtu jam with Johnny one Thanksgiving evening. It's a rough cassette tape recording, but the spirit is there for sure. You can hear him thank us just for being there for him after the song ends.

I've opened for Buddy Guy, Clarence Carter, Roy Buchanan, Denise LaSalle, Blind Sam Meyers, Dr. John, Bobby Rush, Tinsley Ellis, Big Jack Johnson, Jerry McCain and many more in the last fifteen years. How COULD I leave Alabama? Even though the music business is sometimes full of frustrations, I feel that I am being blessed with a very rich and exciting life.

People who don't really know about Blues think that it is all depressing music. This is far from the truth - It is uplifting music. The songs are about the rainbow of color of our lives - the whole range of emotions and feelings, the joy AND the sorrow. It is music about acceptance, transcending, and overcoming. It is uplifting because it shows us our power to face and tangle with our demons, our joy and pain, our love, our sexuality. Music can be such a healing, life affirming force about facing truths and celebrating life. Music is certainly a force that can bring people together - while having a good time."

- Debbie Bond





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