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CD Review
Robert Lockwood Jr.
"I Got To Find Me A Woman"
Verve 314 537 448-2
By Stephen T. Davidson
Playing professionally since the age of fifteen Robert Lockwood's new album, "I Got To Find Me A Woman," is the culmination of almost seventy years of musical experience. Beginning his musical education on the organ at the age of eight or nine, Robert switched to the guitar at around the age of eleven when his mother, Esther, took up with a young guitarist named Robert Johnson. Known to be the only person to receive guitar lessons from the legendary Johnson, Mr. Lockwood has had to endure comparisons with his near-mythical mentor his entire life. Not satisfied with being a mere imitator, Robert Lockwood Jr. has evolved his style of music from the delta blues of his youth to the contemporary blues of today. Incorporating a sophisticated blend of country blues, Chicago blues, jazz, jump, and rhythm and blues, Robert has evolved into a consummate musician. "I Got to Find Me A Woman" proves that he is equally comfortable as a solo artist, in a duo, or with a band.

Divided between original compositions and blues standards, "I Got To Find Me A Woman" is a masterpiece of work for the octogenarian who continues to prove that he is a force to be reckoned with. Paying homage to his first mentor (Robert Johnson), Lockwood puts down his standard 12 string and picks up a six string guitar for solo renditions of a pair of Johnson penned standards, playing slide on "Walking Blues" and finger picking his "Kind Hearted Woman." Two other songs, allegedly written by Lockwood but showing a heavy Johnson influence, include a variation of the "Sweet Home Chicago" theme -- "Take A Little Walk With Me" which Lockwood first recorded in 1941 and comparatively shows how far he has matured vocally, and "Little Boy Blue" which had once been "rumored" to have "allegedly" been an unrecorded Robert Johnson composition but is credited to Mr. Lockwood (the liner notes indicate "Little Boy Blue" as pointing in the direction of Sonny Boy "Rice Miller" Williamson II, but this reviewer hears a closer resemblance to the alleged Johnson connection).

On the two Roosevelt Sykes compositions included here, "Feel Like Blowing My Horn" and "She’s Little and She’s Low" Robert demonstrates his ability to play the bass figures of the hard pounding piano player while maintaining his distinctive vocal delivery.

On the title cut, "I Got To Find Me A Woman," B. B. King, with his unmistakable lead guitar, joins Robert and his band in the pleasant romp. And on the laid back duo, "Bob and B," Robert provides a chordal walking type bass line accompaniment that allows B. B. to play around with a more relaxed style of lead guitar. Also included on this excellent CD are a couple of jump blues inspired tunes, "My Daily Wish" and "For You My Love" and the blues standards "How Long" and "Everyday I Have the Blues."

Robert hauls out his 12 string acoustic for an infectious solo boogie on "Lockwood’s Boogie" after which he states, "guitar playing hard," and gets down on the electric 12 string for an outstanding version of "Big Legged Woman."

Nominated for both a Handy and Grammy awards, as a member of the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and the National Heritage Fellowship Award, Lockwood has endowed us with an album worthy of his legacy.

Personnel on the album include Robert Lockwood Jr. (6 & 12 string electric, electric slide & acoustic guitars, vocals) B.B. King, Joe Louis Walker, Charles "D.C." Carnes (electric guitar), Wallace Coleman (harmonica), Maurice Reeus, El. (tenor saxophone), Robert "Red Top" Young (piano), Richard Smith (bass), Jimmy "Gator" Hoare (drums). " I Got To Find Me A Woman" was principally recorded at Suma Recording Co. Painesville , Ohio on May 7 - 9, 1996.

Muttbucket awards for "I Got To Find Me A Woman", 4 & 1/2 out of a possible 5 buckets.

This review is copyright © 1999 by Stephen T. Davidson, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.

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