Paul deLay – a great musical talent

Paul died this morning at Providence Portland Medical Center from end-stage leukemia diagnosed just days before. He was 55. Paul had defined the blues movement in the Portland area. Anyone lucky enough to have seen him perform marvel at the energy levels, and range of emotion that this large man can convey. I harbor a level of admiration for this man in ways beyond the admiration his musical talents and his gift with the harmonica. It begins with his late-night blues lifestyle that pulled him down, culminating in his arrest for cocaine and subsequent imprisonment. My respect in him comes from his forthright admission of his problems, and his openness in his continual ( and seemingly successful) efforts to clean up his life, which he talked of often. His struggles against his own personal demons is often trivialized and misunderstood. Check out Paul deLays official website to learn more of this man. Better yet, check out any of his dozen albums and then you might begin to understand a little more about this man. “Nice and Strong” and “From the Turnaround” are two of my favorites. Those that knew his father could understand him even more. His father Alan deLay was an amazing man himself. The man was a news photographer in the Portland area for many years, photographing such historic events as the Vanport flood and the Beatles concerts in 1962. An avid Boy Scout for over 75 years, he spent 6 years as an adult leader in our Boy Scout troop, and he did much to teach our boys about many things such as starting a fire, in the rain, with no matches. Plus he also had an amazing musical talent. He could play the musical saw. We heard him many times and it is truly a memorable experience. Here is a pretty good little piece on Alan. His musical CD, “Allan deLay – Sawing through the memories” is still available at some web outlets.

3 thoughts on “Paul deLay – a great musical talent

  1. Rebekah Wolfe

    My parents, Dorothy and Roy Wolfe knew Paul as an infant and especially his father, as Dad worked on the Oregonian as an artist with Alan. Mom has Alzheimer’s, but when she saw the Oregonian pieces on Paul, she retold stories of when he was little, and when he and his family used to go on picnics together with my parents and big sis. She remembers these events as if they were yesterday. I plan on showing her what I’ve been able to find on Alan’s music and will enjoy sharing Paul’s music with her as well.

    Thank you for the above information!

  2. Tiffany

    You’re so funny! You certainly weren’t kidindg on the many changes. I should take a lesson from you … I’ve had the same hair, mmmm, for 4 years? Well, no 32 years – aside from that dreadful spiral perm in the 7th grade!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *