Rory Block

Rory Block

born on 6/11/1949 in Princeton, NJ, United States

Rory Block

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Aurora "Rory" Block (born November 6, 1949,[1] 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,[1] 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.[2] 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;[1] 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).[1] 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.[3]

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.[4]

In 2010, Block released her autobiography in .pdf format and a limited print run titled When A Woman Gets The Blues.


Year Title Label Number Notes
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
1983 Blue Horizon Rounder 3073
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
1991 Mama's Blues Rounder 3117
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
1995 Turning Point Munich 145
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.[5]
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


Festival appearances

  • Pinkpop Festival, Netherlands - 1989
  • Long Beach Blues Festival - 1993
  • San Francisco Blues Festival - 1999
  • Notodden Blues Festival - 2006
  • Kemptville Live Music Festival - 2017

See also

  • List of blues musicians
  • List of contemporary blues musicians
  • List of Austin City Limits performers


  1. ^ a b c d Allmusic biography
  2. ^ "Born to the Blues". FLYP. 2008-11-24. Archived from the original on 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  3. ^ "Rory Block Resume". Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  4. ^ Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 94. ISBN 1-85868-255-X. 
  5. ^ Block, Rory (4 June 2013). "Avalon: A Tribute To Mississippi John Hurt". Stony Plain Records. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  6. ^ Grego Anderson. "Rory Block Discography". Retrieved 2009-10-25. 

External links

  • 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
This page was last modified 30.06.2018 10:22:13

This article uses material from the article Rory Block from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.