Blues promoter Tina Mayfield dies


PALMDALE, Calif. -- Tina Mayfield, the widow of blues great Percy Mayfield who promoted blues music as if it were a precious heirloom, has died. She was 77.

"The Grammy people don't know who she is, but she was queen in this community," longtime friend and blues artist Barbara Morrison said.

Mayfield died Dec. 14 of gallbladder cancer at her Palmdale home.

She was a friend to a variety of blues artists, including Big Mama Thornton and Lowell Fulson. She was known for helping artists get royalties and offering them opportunities to perform.

"She was able to put together and produce some of the most important blues shows here in Los Angeles -- a real down-home, strong, aesthetically pure blues show," said Tom Reed, author of "The Black Music History of Los Angeles -- Its Roots."

Mayfield befriended singer and composer Percy Mayfield, who was known as the "poet laureate of the blues," and the couple later married. She got her business acumen from her industry savvy husband, who died in 1984.

"Mama Tina" Mayfield, as she was known by many, used what she learned over the years to help artists understand contracts and obtain royalties owed to them.

"Some of them couldn't read. She was just real smart. She would let them know what was happening. She would articulate in their terms," Morrison said.

She is survived by four daughters, Eliza Euwing-Jones of Los Angeles and Rennie Euwing, Linda Euwing and Dena Euwing-Kendrick, all of Palmdale; and son Edward Euwing of Caldwell, Ark..

Mayfield's funeral was scheduled for Saturday at First AME Church in Los Angeles.