Robert Jr. Lockwood
When Robert Jr Lockwood passed away in 2006, he was the last direct connection to the Mississippi Delta blues music that had created the foundation for R&B, Soul, and Rock-N-Roll. Robert's legend was born by having THE delta legend Robert Johnson as a quasi-stepfather and guitar teacher.
Lockwood's early career could easily be the subjects of
multiple books and movies, but for this place we will concentrate on
when he moved to Cleveland in 1960 and spent the rest of his life in
the Tower City. In the 1960s he played at local R&B and blues
clubs. In the early 1970s he began to get a lot of white fans who, as
part of the great 1960s music evolution, were seeking authentic blues.
In Cleveland, there was no one more authentic than Robert Jr.
As part of the new exposure, he started to play often at places like the Euclid Tavern, Peabodys, and Pirates Cove. Blues labels like Delmark and Trix issued LPs and in the 1980s, he jumped on the blues festival ciicuit and was a much sought after performer. He continued to record sporadically and play into the 2000s. In the later stages of his career, he was often backed on bass by Geno Schwartz, the younger brother and caretaker of Cleveland guitar legend Glenn Schwartz. In the 1960s, Glenn was in the audience for a few of Robert's gigs.
During his life, and posthumously, he won numerous awards including a National Heratige Fellowship and a Grammy.