Snooks Eaglin a giant of the Fest

NEW ORLEANS- Fird Eaglin Jr., or Snooks Eaglin as he was known was a one of a kind New Orleans guitarist with a storied career.

The Flamingos, 1954 with Snooks Eaglin on guitar, Allen Toussaint on piano, and Frank Morgan on clarinet. (“Courtesy of Frank Morton” and the Hogan Jazz Archive)

Eaglin dropped out of the Louisiana School for the Blind in order to play music professionally.  We first heard of Snooks Eaglin in the 1950's as a member of the New Orleans R&B band The Flamingos- Eaglin played guitar and Allen Toussaint on piano.

Legendary bassist George Porter Jr. played with Eaglin, and led his final band.

Snooks Eaglin w George Porter Jr Jazz Fest 2004 (photo by Leon Morris/WWOZ)

Porter says, "I believe his unique gift was his way of making songs his own. Basically Snooks was a jukebox."

This is Porter performing with Eaglin in this vintage footage courtesy of  Rock 'N' Bowl:

In fact, Eaglin was called the 'human jukebox" for his brilliant facility to remember obscure and popular songs.

Snooks Eaglin (Historic New Orleans Collection/Jules Cahn)

We lost Snooks Eaglin in 2009, but Porter says he still benefits from having shared the stage with such a talented musician. "Musically I think what playing with Snooks taught me was what I had been learning all the time, prior to that working in the studio with Allen is paying attention. Listening to what's going on. Not all the time you can see what's going on, you have to be listening to know where it's at," said Porter.