Thursday, April 12, 2007

Robert Lockwood, Jr. - Steady Rollin' Man (Delmark 1970, 2006)

Guitarist and singer Robert Lockwood, Jr. had a very long and successful career that stretched from learning at the feet of his step-father Robert Johnson to being a session guitarist for Chess Records and then finally becoming an elder statesman for blues. This album is a relaxed session featuring Lockwood's guitar and vocals on a set of mostly standards, where he's backed by The Aces, drummer Fred Below, bassist Dave Myers and guitarist Louis Myers. Lockwood is able to get a lot of mileage out of the standard repertoire, especially a very expressive version of Johnson's "Kindhearted Woman Blues" where his vocals take center stage in a very good performance. A couple of other performances associated with Johnson, the title track "Steady Rollin' Man" and "Ramblin' On My Mind" also stand out. Lockwood was one of the few blues musicians to embrace the 12-string guitar and his intricate jazz-influenced playing is very distinctive. A couple of instrumentals round out the disc providing more examples of the bands prowess. While the heat might be turned down to a low boil, this is a relaxed and easygoing session that should impress fans of classic blues.

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