|Born||April 28, 1910|
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
|Died||January 29, 1986|
|Associated acts||Art Tatum|
He played bass and banjo before settling on guitar. In the 1930s Barksdale moved to Chicago, where he was in Erskine Tate's band. He recorded for the first time with violinist Eddie South in 1931, and he remained with South until 1939. He moved to New York City and became a member of the Benny Carter big band. Around the same time, he recorded with Sidney Bechet. During the 1940s, he worked for CBS as a session musician.
As a sideman, Barksdale played guitar in many genres. He worked with vocalists Dean Barlow, Maxine Sullivan, the Blenders, and the Clovers. He played on the hit "Love Is Strange" by Mickey & Sylvia and was music director for the Ink Spots.
He played on recordings by Lena Horne, Sammy Davis Jr., Dinah Washington, and Sarah Vaughan. Among his other jazz associations are Milt Hinton, Buddy Tate, Clark Terry, and Louis Armstrong. He also played guitar in the studio for pop and soul musicians such as The Drifters (including on "Under the Boardwalk" and "Saturday Night at the Movies") and Ben E. King.
Barksdale retired from active performance in the 1970s and moved to California. He died there in 1986.
With Chet Baker
With Johnny Hodges
With Budd Johnson
With J. J. Johnson
With Jimmy McGriff
With Rex Stewart
With Buddy Tate
- Swinging Like Tate (Felsted, 1958)
With Harold Vick
With Dicky Wells
With Kai Winding
- The In Instrumentals (Verve, 1965)
- Louis Armstrong: Louis Armstrong and the Angels/Louis and the Good Book (Universal, 1957–'58)
- Sidney Bechet: 1941–1944 (Classics)
- Billy Butler: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow (Prestige, 1970)
- Benny Carter: 1940–1941 (Classics)
- Edmond Hall: 1944–1945 (Classics)
- Billie Holiday: The Complete Original Decca Recordings (GRP, 1944–1950)
- Jimmy Rushing and the Buck Clayton All–Stars: Jimmy Rushing and the Smith Girls (Columbia/Fresh Sound, 1960)
- Maxine Sullivan: 1941–1946 (Classics)
- Art Tatum: The Complete Capitol Recordings of Art Tatum (Capitol, 1949–52)
- Clark Terry and Chico O'Farrill: Spanish Rice (Impulse!, 1966)
- Eddie South: 1923–1937 (Classics)