June 9, 2015

Robert Jr. Lockwood - Live - Chicago Blues Festival, Grant Park, Chicago, IL 1995-06-02

 A real treat here!
Robert Jr. Lockwood

Born: March 27, 1915 in Turkey Scratch AR
Died: November 21, 2006 in Cleveland OH

Mentored in the blues by the legendary Robert Johnson, Robert Lockwood Jr. was, well into the new millennium, the most accomplished champion of Johnson's Delta-born guitar style. Although Lockwood recorded sporadically throughout his lifetime, and the constant questions about Johnson often irritated the guitarist, he quietly forged a significant career than would win him two W.C. Handy Awards, a Grammy™ Award, and induction into the Blues Hall of Fame. Lockwood would influence a generation of younger bluesmen, including B.B. King.

Lockwood was born in 1915 in a rural village known as "Turkey Scratch," west of Helena, Arkansas, although his birthplace is often credited as Marvell AR. Not much is known of Lockwood's early life, save that he began playing the organ in his father's church at 8 years of age. After his parents were divorced, his mother Esther took up with Delta blues legend Robert Johnson, who lived with the women, when not on the road performing, for over a decade.
The young Robert abandoned organ in favor of guitar, and was taught the rudiments of the instrument by Johnson, who had become the boy's de facto "stepfather." By the age of 15, Lockwood was performing professionally around Helena, sometimes with Johnson, but typically with Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller) or Johnny Shines. Throughout the 1930s, Lockwood played juke joints, fish fries, house parties, and street corners throughout the Mississippi Delta region, where he was known as "Robert Junior" due to his relationship with Johnson.
After Johnson's death in 1938, Lockwood began to make a musical legacy of his own. Lockwood was one of the first bluesmen to begin playing an electric guitar, and he would expand beyond the country blues of the Mississippi Delta to include jazzier elements in his sound. During the late 1930s and early 1940s, Lockwood would travel between Helena, Memphis, St. Louis, and Chicago. He performed as both a solo act and as a duo with Williamson, appearing regularly on the harp player's King Biscuit Time radio program on KFFA radio in Helena. Lockwood also played with Howlin' Wolf in Memphis.

Lockwood made his first recordings in 1941 for Bluebird Records, traveling to Aurora, Illinois to record four songs, including "Take A Little Walk With Me" and "Little Boy Blue,"staples of the guitarist's live shows for decades. Lockwood continued to perform across the south throughout the 1940s, finally moving to Chicago in 1950, where he would become a session player for Chess Records. During the 1950s, Lockwood would record and perform with a number of the blues biggest stars, including Little Walter, Sunnyland Slim, and Muddy Waters, among many others.

1. King Biscuit Time
2. I'm Just Your Fool
3. Lockwood's Boogie
4. Tell Me What's In Store
5. Hangin' On
6. Ramblin' On My Mind
7. Stop Breakin' Down
8. This Is The Blues
9. Everyday I Have The Blues
10. Mojo Hand


Quicicasco said...

Excellent hi fi quality and great stuff.
Thank you from Italy

Muddy said...

A Real Treat Here - I think it should read. The Chicago Blues Festival sure had some great artists in the 90s, when I was able to attend. It's still great now, I'm sure.

Spensersdada said...

Can't wait to hear it. Thank you very much.

goinsidemyhead said...

sometimes too much is just that, too much, stepping on each others toes trying to burn but just comes off sounding like an off night going through the motions in another outdoor blues festival...just was hoping for more, fuck this is Robert Lockwood afterall man...but heh, thanks for the post!