Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page

Paul Orta (Vocal and Harmonica) was born in Port Arthur, Texas hometown of Janis Joplin, Guitar Junior and other prominent musicians. Paul was first influenced by the blues at the age of eight, when he saw Louis Armstrong on a movie. After nine years of playing with school band, Paul quit because the band never played Jazz or Blues. Within a half of a year Paul picked up the harmonica, and in three months he was in his first professional band. The name of the group was the Bayou Boogie Band, and they played and toured the Golden Triangle of Southeast Texas Beaumont, Port Arthur, Orange, and Louisiana for three years.

In 1979, Paul moved to Austin, Texas and he won the Kerrville Folk Festival harmonica contest in 1980. Later he formed the The Backdoormen with Port Arthur native Bill Arthur Jones, and with the help of bass player Eddie Stout they evolved into the Kingpins. Afterwards Paul entered the Antones University Of the Blues: playing with Blues greats Matt Guitar Murphy, Pinetop Perkins, Eddie Taylor, Sunnyland Slim, Wayne Benett, Lockwood.htm">Robert Lockwood Jr, Luther Tucker, Willie Big Eyes Smith, Ted Harvey and many others, even being invited by Jimmy Rogers to play gigs and Snooky Pryor to join him on stage everytime he was at Antones. And every wednesday night for three months Paul played with Howlin Wolf s guitar player Hubert Sumlin.

Paul also toured and recorded with Texas Guitar Tornado U.P. Wilson (U.S.A. and Europe) for over two years. Paul has also recorded over a dozen albums and also can be heard on over three dozen different compilations and various artists, albums in North & South America, Europe, Japan and Australia. In addition he has performed with second generation bluesman like Kim Wilson, Derek O'Brian, and has recorded with Tommy Shannon & Chris Layton (Stevie Ray Vaughn rhythm section) with Brazilian Blues/Rock guitar player Nuno Mindelis, even performing several festvals in front of thousand fans. Past members have included (Johnny Winter), Keith Ferguson (Fabulous Thunderbirds), Mike Kindred (Stevie Ray Vaughn), Wesley Starr (Delbert McClinton, Willie Nelson), Freddie Walden (Anson Funderburgh), Jimmy Carl Black (Frank Zappa).

Paul was nominated Texas Harmonica Tornado; by Buddy Magazine in 1987, played at the San Francisco Battle of the Harmonicas and the Texas Harmonica Rumble. Hohner Harmonicas endorsed him in 1990, and in 1994, he helped Kendrick Amplifiers design a amplifier for harmonica called the Texas Crude. Paul also has designed his own special slide harp which allows one to play various positions on one harmonica.

Lately Paul has been working as a producer and has produced for Dialtone records Ervin Charles Greyhound Blues, Richard Earl for a Christmas compilation (also on Dialtone) and Wild Bill Pitre. He also has two new records of his own, one with Lazy Lester, on his own label BLUES INTERNATIONAL, to be distributed in Europe. Paul who lives in Paris when not in Austin or Port Arthur, has been an active promoter of Blues in the School program in Port Arthur. --