Robert Lockwood

Whenever I fly into one of those, "I gotta get rid of some of these CDs" moods, I inevitably settle on my seemingly endless boxes of blues records. But then like magic, hard–edged questions like "Do I really need 15 B.B. King records" eventually morph into expressions like, "Damn, I haven't heard this record in a hundred years." I am genetically unable to dump blues records.

Strangely enough, while it was pouring rain in New York all day Thanksgiving Day, I stayed in and got into the blues records, this time not to weed out the weak doggies, but to find my Robert Lockwood Jr. discs. The man also known as Robert Jr. Lockwood, don't ask me why, died November 22, aged 91. He was most famous as the player who learned from the great Robert Johnson thanks to his mother who was Johnson's girlfriend for a time in the 30’s. I met him several times out west and here in NYC and he was a sweet guy. Not the braggart a lot of Delta guys became later in life. And while he'd answer you if you asked—and I did—he wasn't quick to offer up Robert Johnson stories just to polish his own image.

With Lockwood's death, the delta bluesmen are just about all gone. Amazing that so many like Lockwood survived as long as they did though. I mean these guys did not have the easiest of lifestyles. Concepts like "health insurance" just made them cackle. And light another cigarette.