Booba Barnes

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Roosevelt "Booba" Barnes (September 25, 1936 – April 2, 1996)[1] was an American Delta blues guitar player and vocalist. One commentator noted that Barnes, R. L. Burnside, Big Jack Johnson, Paul "Wine" Jones and James "Super Chikan" Johnson were "present-day exponents of an edgier, electrified version of the raw, uncut Delta blues sound."[2]


Born in Longwood, Washington County, Mississippi, Barnes got his start in 1960 as a member of the Swinging Gold Coasters, a local Mississippi blues outfit. He relocated to Chicago in 1964, where he played in bars and clubs, but returned to Mississippi in 1971 and continued to perform locally into the early 1980s. He opened a nightclub, the Playboy Club, in 1985, and played there with a backing group called the Playboys; they became regional blues favorites, and eventually signed to Rooster Blues, who released Barnes's debut effort in 1990.

The album was hailed by Allmusic as "an instant modern classic",[3] and Guitar Player called Barnes "a wonderfully idiosyncratic guitar player and an extraordinary vocalist by any standard".[4] Barnes toured the U.S. and Europe following the album's release.[1]

Barnes's career was interrupted in the middle of the decade when he was diagnosed with cancer, and he died of the disease in 1996 in Chicago, aged 59.[1]



  1. ^ a b c Jim O'Neal and Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Roosevelt "Booba" Barnes at Allmusic
  2. ^ Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music (1st ed.). Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 160. ISBN 1-904041-96-5. 
  3. ^ Review of The Heartbroken Man, Allmusic
  4. ^ Jas Obrecht of Guitar Player as quoted in Allmusic biography.
  • The Negro Leagues Book, edited by Dick Clark & Larry Lester (1994). The Society for American Baseball Research (Cleveland, OH) ISBN 0-910137-55-2