Texas blues singer and pianist Omar Shariff was born March 10, 1938; during the 1960s he relocated to San Francisco, where in 1971 he recorded a pair of albums for the Arhoolie label under his given name, Dave Alexander. Upon adopting his stage name, he kept a low profile and did not record for another two decades; The Raven, a collection made up of ten songs cut in 1991 and seven songs cut in 1972 , marked his return to prominence. Shariff was nominated for a W.C. Handy Award in 1993. In 1996 small blues label Have Mercy released Baddass and followed it up with Black Widow Spider in 2000. Both records are stripped-down nasty blues: song titles like "My Life Is a Nightmare" and "Seven Years of Torture" give the listener an idea where Shariff is coming from. His next album, Anatomy of a Woman, was a concept album about Shariff's favorite subject: women. Shariff remained an obscure but blues-to-the bone artist until his passing January 8, 2012.
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