The Real Thing: Historic Blues Musicians Still Extant in 2002
April 5, 2002 11:10 AM Subscribe
Robert Jr. Lockwood is alive , well and still playing and recording. He learned guitar from Robert Johnson when the latter was hanging with Robert Jr’s mom—hence the Jr—and cut his first 78 in 1941. Yet he’s just 2nd generation. From the first, Henry Townsend is still alive and playing, but at 91, doesn't travel that much anymore. Then there is David "Honeyboy" Edwards —and he knew Robert Johnson as well--and Tommy McClennan and Robert Petway, too, which is way more impressive to me. He still plays and records, too, in very recent times in the company of Lockwood and Townsend. And in the third generation, you have Johnny Otis , still alive and kicking, complete with virtual mall. Ike Turner was Howlin’ Wolf’s A&R and piano player when the Wolf cut his first sides for Sam Phillips’ company before Sun, RPM. A helluva a piano player coughAudionotfarfromherecough—apart from the sordid details of his personal life, Ike Turner is, as the aforementioned, a giant in the history of that nearly dead style—the Blues. Alive, playing and recording. Hell, writing, autobiographies, too—Edwards and Turner, at least. (and whew, Turner’s is, well, explicit…) If this were Japan, these guys would be registered as cultural treasures. So why’s everybody wasting their money on some overproduced, overhyped mere johnnyonenote journeyman (if not hack) like R.L. Burnside? Not an obituary, by any means, but a heads up and props to the surviving masters—and you may have a chance to see the real thing someday soon. But note that, all in all, offer ends... sometime.
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