Booba Barnes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Roosevelt Melvin "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, United States,[3] 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.[1] In 1984, Barnes hooked up with Lil' Dave Thompson when the latter was aged 15, and the duo played on Mississippi's juke joint circuit.[4] Barnes 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.[1]

The album was hailed by Allmusic as "an instant modern classic",[5] and Guitar Player called Barnes "a wonderfully idiosyncratic guitar player and an extraordinary vocalist by any standard".[6] 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 lung cancer, and he died of the disease in April 1996 in Chicago, aged 59.[1][3]



  1. ^ a b c d e 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. ^ a b Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club 1996 - 1997". Retrieved 2014-07-31. 
  4. ^ Steve Huey. "Dave Thompson | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-07-31. 
  5. ^ Thom Owens. "The Heartbroken Man - Roosevelt "Booba" Barnes | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-07-31. 
  6. ^ Jas Obrecht of Guitar Player as quoted in Barnes' Allmusic biography.