Posted: Nov 22, 2006 4:07 pm
Delta bluesman Robert Lockwood Jr. dies at 91
Had connection with Robert Johnson
CLEVELAND - Robert Lockwood Jr., a pioneering Mississippi Delta blues guitarist and singer who forged a career in Cleveland, has died, a hospital spokesman said. He was 91.
Lockwood died of respiratory failure at University Hospitals Case Medical Center at 5 p.m. Tuesday, said spokesman George Stamatis. He had been a patient since suffering a stroke on Nov. 3.
Lockwood was born in Turkey Scratch, Ark. At 11, he started guitar lessons with legendary bluesman Robert Johnson, who briefly moved in with Lockwood's mother.
"He never showed me nothing two times," Lockwood said in a 2005 interview with The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer newspaper. "After I got the foundation of the way he played, everything was easy."
Lockwood worked on street corners and in bars and became a musical mentor to B.B. King, who listened to Lockwood in the 1940s on the "King Biscuit Time" radio show broadcast from Helena, Ark.
Lockwood moved to Chicago in the 1950s and was a session player on records by Little Walter, Sunnyland Slim, Roosevelt Sykes and other blues musicians. He branched out from the delta-style blues to jump blues, jazz and funk. In 1960, he moved to Cleveland and played in blues clubs for decades.
As a solo performer, Lockwood earned Grammy nominations for two albums: 1998's "I Got to Find Me a Woman" and 2000's "Delta Crossroads."