At 89 years young, Robert Lockwood, Jr. looks and sounds great. Lockwood made his first record for the Bluebird label in 1941. Think about it! He’s been recording for 63 years and performing for 75 years. His newest session for M.C. Records has a street date of March 9, 2004.
Take a moment to read a few facts about one of the finest surviving acoustic bluesmen. The year of 1915 not only heralded the birth of Robert Lockwood, Jr. in the hamlet of Turkey Scratch, Mississippi. Within a 100 mile radius of Robert’s birthplace, and in the same year, several other notable players were born including Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Memphis Slim, Johnny Shines, Little Walter Jacobs and Honeyboy Edwards.
When young Robert switched from organ to guitar, his tutor was none other than Robert Johnson. The blues pioneer had taken up with Lockwood’s mother and shared their home. In his teenage years, he played professionally with his renowned stepfather and Rice Miller (Sonny Boy Williamson). It wasn’t until 1941 that Lockwood made his first recordings with Doc Watson and strangely, decades passed before he cut another solo
session in 1970. The songs from his first records are still part of his repertoire today.
The famed King Biscuit Flour radio broadcasts from Helena featured Lockwood and Sonny Boy Williamson and influenced hundreds of budding bluesmen. He found a comfortable niche in the studios and recorded as a "session man" for Chess, Mercury and various labels in the 1950s with friends, Roosevelt Sykes, Sunnyland Slim, Sonny Boy and others.
Robert Lockwood, Jr. has called many cities home
including Memphis, St. Louis and Chicago. In the sixties, he settled in Cleveland, Ohio and still resides there, performing regularly at Fat Fish Blue
. An indefatigable player, Lockwood continues to tour the world preaching the blues.
This CD stems from a solo session at The Rhythm Room
in Phoenix, AZ and was recorded on July 24, 2003. Lockwood performs Robert Johnson’s Sweet Home Chicago
and claims it was the first piece he learned to play 75 years ago. His rendition is as pure as the blues can be and echoes in the listeners mind seemingly forever. The same can be said of Leroy Carr’s How Long Blues
. It’s a classic performance! The intimate atmosphere of the club and an attentive audience bring out the best in the veteran bluesman. His command of the 12 string guitar is legendary and has been imitated by countless players around the world. The pure beauty of Lockwood’s guitar style is evident on all the tracks but especially on Ramblin’ On My Mind
. The Legend Live
is a fine performance by a pioneer of the Delta Blues. Give it a listen!