born on 6/11/1949 in Princeton, NJ, United States
Aurora "Rory" Block (born November 6, 1949, Princeton, New Jersey, United States) is an American blues guitarist and singer, a notable exponent of the country blues style.
Aurora Block was born in Princeton and grew up in Manhattan. Her father, Allan Block, ran a sandal shop in Greenwich Village in the 1960s, and the influence of the Greenwich Village folk music scene, such as Peter Rowan, Maria Muldaur, and John Sebastian, tempted Block to study classical guitar. At the age of 14, she met guitarist Stefan Grossman, who introduced her to the music of Mississippi Delta blues guitarists. Block began listening to old albums, transcribing them, and learning to play the songs. At age 15, she left home to seek out the remaining blues giants, such as Mississippi John Hurt, Reverend Gary Davis, and Son House, and hone her craft in the traditional manner of blues musicians; then she traveled to Berkeley, California, where she played in clubs and coffeehouses.
After retiring temporarily to raise a family, Block returned to the music industry in the 1970s with middling success until signing with Rounder Records in 1981, who encouraged her to return to her love for the classical blues form. Since then she has carved out her own niche, releasing numerous critically acclaimed albums of original and traditional songs, including many Robert Johnson covers, such as "Terraplane Blues" and "Come on in My Kitchen". Block has won five W. C. Handy Awards, two for "Traditional Blues Female Artist" (1997, 1998) and three for "Acoustic Blues Album of the Year" (1996, 1999, 2007). She also won NAIRD awards for "Best Adult Contemporary Album of the Year" in 1994 for Angel of Mercy and again in 1997 for Tornado.
Angel of Mercy, Turning Point, and Tornado included mostly original compositions. However, Mama's Blues, Ain't I a Woman and When a Woman Gets the Blues featured songs written by Tommy Johnson, Robert Johnson, Lottie Beaman, and Mattie Delaney.
In 2010, Block released her autobiography in .pdf format and a limited print run titled When A Woman Gets The Blues.
|1967||How to Play Blues Guitar||Elektra||324||Credited as "Sunshine Kate", with Stefan Grossman, reissued in 1978 as Kicking Mule 109|
|1975||Rory Block||RCA Victor||0733|
|1976||Rory Block (I'm in Love)||Blue Goose||2022|
|1977||Intoxication, So Bitter Sweet||Chrysalis||1157|
|1979||You're the One||Chrysalis||1233|
|1981||High Heeled Blues||Rounder||3061||Recorded at Bearsville Sound Studios, Produced by John Sebastian|
|1984||Rhinestones & Steel Strings||Rounder||3085|
|1986||I've Got a Rock in My Sock||Rounder||3097|
|1987||Best Blues and Originals||Rounder||11525|
|1987||House of Hearts||Rounder||3104|
|1990||Color Me Wild||Alcazar||1003||Children's album|
|1992||Ain't I a Woman||Rounder||3120|
|1994||Angel of Mercy||Rounder||3126||1994 Adult Contemporary Album of the Year|
|1994||Women in (E)motion||Tradition & Moderne||107||Live, 1988|
|1995||When a Woman Gets the Blues||Rounder||3139||1996 Acoustic Blues Album of the Year|
|1996||Tornado||Rounder||3140||1997 Adult Contemporary Album of the Year|
|1997||Gone Woman Blues: The Country Blues Collection||Rounder||11575|
|1997||The Early Tapes 1975-1976||Alcazar||111|
|1998||Confessions Of A Blues Singer||Rounder||3154||1999 Acoustic Blues Album of the Year|
|2002||I'm Every Woman||Rounder||3174|
|2003||Last Fair Deal||Telarc||CD-83593|
|2004||Sisters & Brothers||Telarc||CD-83588||With Eric Bibb and Maria Muldaur|
|2005||From the Dust||Telarc||CD-83614|
|2006||The Lady and Mr Johnson||Rykodisc||RCD 10872||2007 Acoustic Blues Album of the Year|
|2008||Blues Walkin' Like a Man: A Tribute to Son House||Stony Plain||SPCD 1329|
|2008||Country Blues Guitar - Rare Archival Recordings 1963-1971||Guitar Workshop||SGGW103||With Stefan Grossman, reissue of How to Play Blues Guitar plus 16 additional tracks|
|2011||Shake 'Em on Down: A Tribute to Mississippi Fred McDowell||Stony Plain||SPCD 1344|
|2012||I Belong to the Band: A Tribute to Rev. Gary Davis||Stony Plain||SP 359|
|2013||Avalon: A Tribute to Mississippi John Hurt||Stony Plain||SPCD 1369||Her fourth release in the Mentor Series.|
|2014||Hard Luck Child: A Tribute to Skip James||Stony Plain||SPCD 1373|
|2018||A Woman’s Soul: A Tribute to Besse Smith||Stony Plain|
- Pinkpop Festival, Netherlands - 1989
- Long Beach Blues Festival - 1993
- San Francisco Blues Festival - 1999
- Notodden Blues Festival - 2006
- Kemptville Live Music Festival - 2017
- List of blues musicians
- List of contemporary blues musicians
- List of Austin City Limits performers
- Allmusic biography
- "Born to the Blues". FLYP. 2008-11-24. Archived from the original on 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
- "Rory Block Resume". Retrieved 2009-10-25.
- Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 94. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.
- Block, Rory (4 June 2013). "Avalon: A Tribute To Mississippi John Hurt". Stony Plain Records. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
- Grego Anderson. "Rory Block Discography". Mojohand.com. Retrieved 2009-10-25.
- Official website
- Telarc (record label) biography
- Illustrated 1964–1987 Rory Block discography (early recordings not shown on official website)
- Illustrated Allan Block discography (Aurora's father)
- Representative's artist page
- Stony Plain Records artist page