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Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Lonnie Brooks born 18 December 1933

Lonnie Brooks (born Lee Baker Jr., December 18, 1933) is an American blues singer and guitarist. He was born in Dubuisson, Louisiana, United States. Rolling Stone stated, "His music is witty, soulful and ferociously energetic, brimming with novel harmonic turnarounds, committed vocals and simply astonishing guitar work." The New York Times added, "He sings in a rowdy baritone, sliding and rasping in songs that celebrate lust, fulfilled and unfulfilled; his guitar solos are pointed and unhurried, with a tone that slices cleanly across the beat. Wearing a cowboy hat, he looks like the embodiment of a good-time bluesman."

Born Lee Baker, Jr. in Louisiana, Brooks took his time when choosing his vocation; he didn't play guitar seriously until he was in his early twenties and living in Port Arthur, TX. Rapidly assimilating the licks of B.B. King and Long John Hunter, he landed a gig with zydeco pioneer Clifton Chenier (not a bad way to break into the business) before inaugurating his own recording career in 1957 with the influential swamp pop ballad "Family Rules" for Eddie Shuler's Lake Charles, LA-based Goldband Records. The young rock & roller -- then billed as Guitar Junior -- enjoyed more regional success on Goldband with the rocking dance number "The Crawl" (covered much later by the Fabulous Thunderbirds). Mercury also issued two 45s by Guitar Junior.

When Sam Cooke offered the young rocker a chance to accompany him to Chicago, he gladly accepted. But two problems faced him once he arrived: there was another Guitar Junior in town (precipitating the birth of Lonnie Brooks), and the bayou blues that so enthralled Gulf Coast crowds didn't cut it up north. Scattered session work (he played on Jimmy Reed's Vee-Jay classic "Big Boss Man") and a series of R&B-oriented 45s for Midas, USA, Chirrup, and Chess ensued during the '60s, as Brooks learned a new style of blues. The Guitar Junior sobriquet was briefly dusted off in 1969 for his Capitol album debut, Broke & Hungry, but its lack of success buried the alias for good.

By the late '70s, Brooks was gaining a deserved reputation as an exceptionally dynamic Chicago bluesman with a fresh perspective. He cut four outstanding sides for Alligator's first batch of Living Chicago Blues anthologies in 1978 that quickly led to his own Aligator debut LP, Bayou Lightning, the next year. Five more albums of his own for the firm and extensive touring cemented Brooks' standing as a Chicago blues giant.

Son Ronnie Baker Brooks is a chip off the proverbial block, playing rhythm guitar in his old man's band and duetting on "Like Father, Like Son" on Lonnie's 1991 album Satisfaction Guaranteed. Brooks long association with Alligator Records continued into the late '90s with the release of Roadhouse Rules in 1996, which focused more on R&B than down-home blues, and Lone Star Shootout in 1999. The disc featured Brooks with fellow guitar slingers Long John Hunter and Phillip Walker playing together and solo in varied combinations of bluespower.

Brooks continues to tour in the U.S. and Europe. His sons, Ronnie Baker Brooks and Wayne Baker Brooks, are also full-time blues entertainers, fronting their own bands and touring extensively in the U.S. and abroad. Wayne Baker Brooks continues to play in his father's band as well. The Brooks' are frequent guest performers at each other's shows and have booked appearances as 'The Brooks Family'. (Info edited from Wikipedia & All Music)

Video of Lonnie Brooks On The Waterfront - Rockford, IL - Labor Day Weekend, 2005

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For Lonnie Brooks 1979 Album "Bayou Lightning" go here:

1 Voodoo Daddy 4:45
2 Figure Head 4:16
3 Watchdog 3:42
4 Breakfast In Bed 3:31
5 In The Dark 5:22
6 Worked Up Woman 3:26
7 Allmony 4:02
8 Watch What You Got 4:13
9 I Ain't Superstitious 2:52
10 You Know What My Body Needs 5:17