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Bassist and singer William “Whop” Frazier spent years backing up other blues players before stepping out on his own. The singer—-who for decades was a prominent figure in D.C.’s blues scene—-passed away on Dec. 22 at Fairfax hospital following a brief battle with lung and bone cancer. Frazier was 68.

Frazier’s wife, Dolores “Dede” Frazier, recalls meeting him in the late ’60s at the now-defunct Rand’s nightclub on 14th St. NW. “Actually, I was a dancer,” says Dede. “[Whop] was playing behind Carl Anderson.” On remembering what first stood out to her about Whop, Dede says, “When I used to get offstage and he was getting ready to go on, he used to say, ‘Pineapple, if I leave a ring around the bathtub, you know I left it clean,’ and I thought he was a little nuts.”

Whop later joined a gospel group at Mount Zion Church in Warrenton, Va., where he first began to sing. “He wasn’t really a singer,” says Dede, “but they made him start singing, and that’s when he went on his own.” Initially, Whop joined up with Michael Tash and the Bad Influence Band, but shortly thereafter he founded the longstanding Whop Frazier & Friends by Choice, where he honed his own songwriting for years to come.

Whop is survived by Dede, four daughters, three sons, 10 grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. A memorial service for the late blues player will take at Mountcastle Turch Funeral Home, 4143 Dale Blvd., Dale City, Va. on Saturday at 1 p.m.