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NOVEMBER 21, 2007  

Legend of the blues

Robert Lockwood thankyou ad from Plain DealerOne year ago, as this ad from today's Plain Dealer reminds us, Robert Lockwood Jr. left us at age 91. I like to remember him as seen in the picture at the far right, possibly taken on his 91st birthday performance at Fat Fish Blue.

Until virtually the day he died you could catch Lockwood playing any Wednesday night at FFB. For his birthday there was a special Saturday concert that I went to, partly for the music, partly to see a more positive picture of aging.

You see, at that point my own father was 93 and failing fast. He could barely move, had lost control of many bodily functions, and seemed barely conscious much of the time. I didn't know it, but while I was marvelling at Lockwood's relative youthfulness, my dad's death was only a week away.

The two years' difference in their ages might easily have been ten years. Lockwood was slow to move around, not visibly enthusiastic about much of the fuss being made over him, but... when he picked up his guitar you knew he hadn't lost much in that department. He only played a song or two, but the sound had a smooth soulful depth that carried the DNA of Robert Johnson, one of Lockwood's teachers.

I never met the man, but he seemed graceful and elegant...solid, not flamboyant. It seems entirely consistent that his wife would take out an ad to thank his fans, friends and colleagues on this first anniversary of his death. He was a class act who graced Cleveland and the world with his life.

> See & hear Lockwood performing Sweet Home Chicago at the Palace Theatre in Grapevine, TX.

Robert Lockwood Jr. website.
Wikipedia article on Robert Lockwood Jr.

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