Robert Lockwood, Jr.

I Got to Find Me a Woman

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These 14 tracks, cut in 1996 when Lockwood was 81 years old, are among the most accessible music that he has ever laid down. Had this record -- with its mix of spare, raw solos and duets juxtaposed with full band pieces that thunder quietly or roar loud and clear -- come out in the late '60s, it might have been as big and important a record as anything cut by Muddy Waters (maybe more, since Waters didn't get to make albums as strong and straightforward as this until the 1970s). Lockwood's playing (accompanied by B.B. King on two tracks) on six- or 12-string, electric or acoustic, is bold yet articulate. His singing is unrivaled, recalling Waters at his late-career peak in expressiveness if not power. The band backing him up really rocks, especially Richard Smith's electric bass, which anchors the rhythm section. Most of the tracks are Lockwood originals, juxtaposed with new interpretations of songs by Robert Johnson, Roosevelt Sykes, Leroy Carr, et al., but his numbers don't suffer at all from the presence of those classics.

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