Ernie Lancaster

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Ernie Lancaster
Birth nameErnest Ray Lancaster
Born(1953-11-30)November 30, 1953
Georgia, United States
OriginFlorida, United States
DiedJuly 17, 2014(2014-07-17) (aged 60)
Mount Dora, Florida, United States
GenresElectric blues, blues rock[1]
Occupation(s)Guitarist, songwriter
Years active1970s–2014
LabelsIchiban, Rip Bang
WebsiteOfficial website

Ernie Lancaster (November 30, 1953 – July 17, 2014)[2] was an American electric blues and blues rock guitarist and songwriter. He released two solo albums. Lancaster had the ability to vary his style between strict blues, and rock, jazz, soul and pop.[1]

He cited his influences as Roy Buchanan, Stevie Ray Vaughan and John Lee Hooker.[3]

Life and career[edit]

Ernest Ray Lancaster was born in Georgia, United States. He later grew up in South Carolina before relocating with his family to Mount Dora, Florida. He formed his own band while at school, which eventually played at Stetson University and on television in Orlando. After dropping out of college, and getting married at age 19,[4] he was a founding member of the Sex Change Band in the mid-1970s.[3] As the backing outfit for Root Boy Slim,[1] the band was a fixture in the mid-Atlantic blues and rock scene, and favored a mix of Memphis-style boogie rock/blues.[5] They recorded an album for Warner Bros. Records in 1978, their first of six records.[4] In 1989, Lancaster played on the Pee Wee, Fred and Maceo album recorded by the JB Horns.[6]

Lancaster's guitar work appeared on numerous albums in the 1980s and 1990s, before he released his debut solo album. That was Ernestly, an all instrumental affair, which was released on Ichiban Records in 1991.[1] Other musicians Lancaster supplied guitar playing for included Rufus Thomas,[7] Reverend Billy C. Wirtz, Kenny Neal, Noble Watts and Lucky Peterson. The latter musician was heavily involved in playing the Hammond organ on Lancaster's first album, with a co-starring credit noted on the album's sleeve.[1] The Allmusic journalist, Alex Henderson, noted that "Although not stunning, Ernestly provides some gritty and unpretentious fun."[7]

In 1993, Lancaster played guitar in James Brown's backing band, during their European tour.[2]

Lancaster's second album, Lightnin' Alley, which comprised self composed tracks (in a similar vein to his first album) was issued in May 2008.[1] He also appeared at the Boundary Waters Blues Festival.

Lancaster died from pancreatic cancer, at his home in Mount Dora, Florida in July 2014, aged 60.[2]


Year Title Record label
1991 Ernestly Ichiban
2008 Lightnin' Alley Rip Bang


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Jason Birchmeier. "Ernie Lancaster". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-12-04.
  2. ^ a b c Joe Williams (2014-08-05). "Blues musician Ernie Lancaster of Mount Dora was known for his guitar". Retrieved 2014-08-13.
  3. ^ a b Parry Gettelman (November 24, 1991). "Ernie Lancaster Plays The Blues By Feel". Retrieved 2012-12-04.
  4. ^ a b "Ernie Lancaster: Official Website". Retrieved 2012-12-04.
  5. ^ Thien, Carl (June 2003). "Root Boy Slim & the Sex Change Band". New Sound Review. Retrieved 2012-12-04.
  6. ^ Fred, Wesley (2002). Hit Me, Fred: Recollections of a Sideman (1st ed.). Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. p. 287. ISBN 0-8223-2909-3.
  7. ^ a b Henderson, Alex. "Ernestly - Ernie Lancaster : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-12-04.

External links[edit]