Sunday, December 18, 2011

Blues With A Feeling - Lonnie Brooks

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.
He learned to play blues from his banjo-picking grandfather, but did not think about a professional career until he moved to Port Arthur, Texas in the early 1950s. There he heard live performances by Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, T-Bone Walker, B.B. King, Long John Hunter and others and began to think about making money from his music. One day, while Brooks was strumming his guitar on his front porch in Port Arthur, Clifton Chenier heard him and offered him a job in his touring band.

Embarking on a solo career, he adopted the moniker of Guitar Junior and signed with Lake Charles's Goldband label. His singles for the label included regional hit "Family Rules", which remains a favorite of the swamp pop idiom in south Louisiana and southeast Texas
In 1960, he moved to Chicago, Illinois. Luther Johnson was already using the name 'Guitar Junior' there, so he adopted the alternative stage name, Lonnie Brooks.
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'.
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