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Robert Lockwood, Jr.
I Got to Find Me a Woman,  Verve CD 314 537 448-2, 1998

 Magisterial blues

There’s something about an old man, a stinging guitar, and more blues than a pocket full of money, a jukebox and beer galore could cure. Octogenarian bluesman Robert Lockwood Jr., with his latest,  I Got to Find Me a Woman, fits the Bill with a capital "B." Born in Arkansas, Lockwood, now a spry 83, tutored under the legendary Robert Johnson, his mother’s common law husband (hence the "Jr."). Indeed, Lockwood is nearly alone in being able to trace his musical lineage directly to the near mythical Johnson.

Nevertheless, the spotlight has rarely been on Lockwood. Despite a string of well-made albums and performances the world wide, Lockwood (along with many others) flounders in relative obscurity, while bluesmen such as B.B. King, John Lee Hooker and Buddy Guy are media darlings. To Lockwood’s credit, he marches on; and with this album, the often overlooked bluesman with many a tale to tell resounds in tasteful understated brilliance.

A couple of covers of Johnson’s tunes are among the album’s highlights. Accompanying himself on each, Lockwood’s acoustic slide on "Walkin’ Blues" and "Kindhearted Woman Blues" falls short of Johnson’s indelible originals, yet whose hasn’t? These updated renditions, however, are pretty close in their makeup and overall believability. After all, being related to the man with a hellhound on his trail must have readied Lockwood somewhat for a life of singing the blues. Simply put, Lockwood is no Robert Johnson, but then no one else is either. He is, however, an overlooked musician with great talent and a feel for the blues. Kind of natural, when you think about it. Robert Lockwood Jr. may not be his step-father’s spitting image, but he surely is a mighty large chunk off of a mighty legendary block.– Tom Netherland

Copyright © 1999 Peppercorn Press. All rights reserved.