Robert Jr. Lockwood
Robert Jr. Lockwood
They would all meet up in the future..... His first musical lessons were on the family pump organ. He learned the guitar, at age eleven, from Robert Johnson, the mysterious delta bluesman, who was living with his mother. From Johnson, Lockwood learned chords, timing, and stage presence. By the age of fifteen, Robert was playing professionally, often with Johnson; sometimes with Johnny Shines or Rice Miller, who would soon be calling himself Sonny Boy Williamson II.
They would play fish fries, juke joints, and street corners. Once Johnson played one side of the Sunflower River, while Lockwood manned the other bank. The people of Clarksville, Mississippi were milling around the bridge; they couldn't tell which guitarist was Robert Johnson. Young Lockwood had learned Johnson's techniques very well..... Lockwood's first recordings came in 1941, with Doc Clayton, on his famous Bluebird Sessions in Aurora, Illinois.
During these sessions, he cut four singles under his own name. These were the first incarnations of "Take A Little Walk with Me" and "Little Boy Blue" Lockwood staples sixty years later..... Later in 1941, Lockwood was back in Arkansas where he re-united with Sonny Boy II to host a live radio program broadcast at noon from KFFA in Helena, sponsored by the King Biscuit Flower Company. James Peck Curtis and Dudlow Taylor provided the rhythm. This show became a cultural phenomenon; everybody would listen during his or her lunch hour.
Several generations of southern bluesman can trace their musical roots to the show..... Lockwood moved around, the usual route was Memphis, St. Louis, to Chicago. By the early 1950s, he had surfaced in the Windy City, where he became the top session man for Chess Records, the epitome of blues labels. Sonny Boy Williamson II, Little Walter, Roosevelt Sykes, Sunnyland Slim, and Eddie Boyd, whom he toured with for six years, you can hear his smooth chords on their recordings..... In 1961 Lockwood moved to Cleveland, Ohio where he resided until his death.
In the early 1960s, as "Bob Lockwood, Jr., and Combo" he had a regular gig at Loving's Grill, located at 8426 Hough Avenue. In the 1970s through the 1990s, he performed regularly with his band the "All Stars" at numerous local venues, including Pirate's Cove, The Euclid Ave. Tavern, and Peabody's. For the last few years of his career, Lockwood played at Cleveland's Fat Fish Blue (corner of Prospect and Ontario, downtown Cleveland) every Wednesday night at 8 p.m.; the "All Stars" continued to perform there after his death..... Read more on Last.fm.
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