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The Traditional Delta and Country Blues

Zuzu Bollin

b. September 5, 1922 in Frisco, TX, d. October 2, 1990 in Dallas, TX. Zuzu Bollin was an Texas blues guitarist and singer from Frisco, Texas. Originally named A.D. Bollin, the name 'Zuzu' is believed to refer to a brand of ginger-snap cookies popular at the time.

Bollin notably recorded "Why Don't You Eat Where You Slept Last Night" and "Headlight Blues" (1951), and variously worked alongside Duke Robillard, Doug Sahm, Booker Ervin, Percy Mayfield and David "Fathead" Newman. Bollin was thought to be dead, until he was rediscovered in 1988 living in Dallas, Texas, by the Dallas Blues Society Records founder, Chuck Nevitt. Nevitt gathered together a band and produced Bollin's first full length album Texas Bluesman in 1989, as the debut release on Dallas Blues Society Records. This record was sold to Antones Records a couple of years later, and Antones released it on compact disc. This recording augmented Bollin's only four sides (two 78rpm records) recorded in the early 1950s on the Dallas based Torch Records label. Bollin made festival dates both in the United States and abroad. Bollin died in Dallas, Texas in October 1990, aged 68.


by Bill Dahl
Two 78s in the early '50s and a 1989 rediscovery album don't add up to much of a recorded legacy. But Zuzu Bollin's contribution to the Texas blues legacy shouldn't be overlooked -- his T-Bone Walker-influenced sound typified postwar Lone Star blues guitar.

Born A.D. Bollin, Zuzu listened to everyone from Blind Lemon Jefferson and Leroy Carr (on records) to Joe Turner and Count Basie. He picked up his nickname while in the band of Texan E.X. Brooks; seems he had a sweet tooth for a brand of ginger snap cookies called ZuZus. Bollin formed his own combo in 1949, featuring young saxist David "Fathead" Newman. After a stint with Percy Mayfield's band, Bollin resumed playing around Dallas. In late 1951, he made his recording debut for Bob Sutton's Torch logo. Newman and saxist Leroy Cooper, both future members of Ray Charles' band, played on Bollin's "Why Don't You Eat Where You Slept Last Night" and "Headlight Blues." A Torch follow-up, "Stavin' Chain"/"Cry, Cry, Cry," found Bollin backed by Jimmy McCracklin's combo.

No more recording ensued after that, though Bollin toured with bandleaders Ernie Fields and Joe Morris before chucking the music biz in 1964 to go into a more stable profession: dry cleaning. Bollin's 1987 rediscovery was the Dallas Blues Society's doing: they engineered a series of gigs and eventually a fine 1989 album, Texas Bluesman, that beautifully showcased Bollin's approach. Their efforts were barely in time -- Bollin died in 1990.