Robert Lockwood Jr.
Robert Lockwood, Jr. was born in Turkey Scratch, Arkansas on March 1915. He started playing the organ in his father's church at the age of 8. The famous bluesman Robert Johnson lived with Lockwood's mother for 10 years off and on after his parents' divorce. Lockwood learned from Johnson not only how to play guitar, but timing and stage presence as well.
By age 15, Lockwood was playing professionally at parties in the Helena area. He often played with his quasi-stepfather figure, Johnson, but also occasionally with Rice Miller (Sonny Boy Williamson II) or Johnny Shines. Lockwood played at fish fries, juke joints, and street corners throughout the Mississippi Delta in the 1930s. An anecdote from Lockwood's website claims that on one occasion Robert Johnson played on one side of the Sunflower River, while Lockwood played on the other, with the people of Clarksville, Mississippi milling about the bridge, unable to tell which guitarist was the real Robert Johnson.
Following Johnson's tragic murder in 1938, Lockwood embarked on his own intriguing musical journey. He was among the first bluesmen to score an electric guitar in 1938 and eventually made his way to Chicago. Jazz elements steadily crept into Lockwood's dazzling fretwork, although his role as Sonny Boy Williamson's musical partner probably didn't emphasize that side of his dexterity all that much.
Settling in Chicago in 1950, Lockwood swiftly gained a reputation as a versatile in-demand studio sideman, recording behind harp genius Little Walter and piano masters Sunnyland Slim and Eddie Boyd.
Lockwood's best modern work as a leader was done for Pete Lowry's Trix label, including some startling workouts on the 12-string axe that he daringly added to his arsenal in 1965. He later joined forces with fellow Johnson disciple Johnny Shines for two eclectic early-'80s Rounder albums. Intent on satisfying his own instincts first and foremost, the sometimes taciturn Lockwood is a priceless connection between past and present. MP3: Walking Blues