Lazy Bill Lucas

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Lazy Bill Lucas
Birth name William Lucas
Born (1918-05-29)May 29, 1918
Wynne, Arkansas, United States
Died December 11, 1982(1982-12-11) (aged 64)
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Genres Chicago blues
Occupation(s) Singer, pianist, guitarist
Instruments Singer, piano, guitar
Years active 1940s–1982
Labels Various

Lazy Bill Lucas (May 29, 1918 – December 11, 1982)[1] was an American blues musician, who was part of the birth of the Chicago blues scene during the 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s, before taking his talents to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and becoming an important part of that city's blues history until his death.

Early career[edit]

Born William Lucas[2] to sharecroppers in Wynne, Arkansas, United States,[1] Lucas's family was always looking for better living conditions and worked their way north to Southern Missouri, then to St. Louis in 1940 and Chicago the year after. As a youngster, he sang on the streets of Advance, Missouri, where the mostly white audience preferred hillbilly songs, but in St. Louis in 1940, he teamed up with blues singer Big Joe Williams and started singing for a black audience.[2] Until 1946, Lucas played guitar on the streets, often at the side of Sonny Boy Williamson II. Later that year, he formed a trio with Willie Mabon and Earl Dranes, joined the Musicians Union, and enjoyed a two-week gig at the Tuxedo Lounge. For several years, he played in various blues combos and played in various clubs, bars and street settings. During this time, he played with Johnny "Man" Young, Jo Jo Williams, Homesick James, Little Hudson, Snooky Pryor, and Little Walter. In 1950, Lucas switched from guitar to piano and worked as a sideman for various blues bands, and appeared on records by Little Willy Foster, Homesick James and Snooky Pryor.[2]

In 1954, while leading the trio Lazy Bill and His Blue Rhythms, he secured a recording contract with Chance Records, who gave him one recording session.[2] The company released one 78 rpm phonograph record – "She Got Me Walkin'" b/w "I Had a Dream". In 1955 he headed an ensemble billed as Blues Rockers, who issued a single via Excello Records. The recording took place in Nashville, Tennessee, with Lucas on vocals and piano, P.T. Hayes playing the harmonica, Earl Dranes on guitar and Jo Jo Williams supplying guitar, bass and drums.[3]

Later career[edit]

As the 1950s progressed, work became harder to find, and during the 1960s, Lucas tried to get into the folk-blues scene but could not secure any contracts. From 1964 and well into the 1970s, Lucas straddled two careers: playing in various groups led by George "Mojo" Buford and playing solo or leading his own small groups. In 1970, he played a benefit show at the Guthrie Theatre organized by Minneapolis's black establishment to show the range and history of Afro-American music. The same year Lucas appeared at the Wisconsin Delta Blues Festival, and the Ann Arbor Blues Festival, with Jeff Titon and John Schrag. In the 1970s, Titon helped record and produce Lucas's material for Philo Records. In 1979, Lucas, who had played live on the radio in the 1960s, started hosting his own regular radio show, The Lazy Bill Lucas Show on KFAI in Minneapolis.[4]

Lucas died of natural causes in Minneapolis in December 1982, at the age of 64.[1]

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • Lazy Bill and His Blue Rhythms: "She Got Me Walkin" b/w " I Had A Dream" : Chance Records 1148 (1954)
  • Blues Rockers: "Calling All Cows" b/w " Johnny Mae" : Excello Records 2062 (1955)

Albums[edit]

  • Lazy Bill: Wild Records 12MO1 (1969)
  • Lazy Bill and His Friends: Lazy Records 12MO2 (1970)
  • Lazy Bill Lucas: Philo Records 1007 (1974)
  • Have Mercy: Cold Wind Records (1988)[3][5][6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Lazy Bill Lucas". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Lazy Bill Lucas : Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Illustrated Lazy Bill Lucas Discography". Wirz.de. Retrieved 2016-06-16. 
  4. ^ Jeff Titon, producer, Philo Records 1007, 1973
  5. ^ "Lazy Bill Lucas | Album Discography". AllMusic. 1918-05-29. Retrieved 2016-06-15. 
  6. ^ "Lazy Bill Lucas Discography". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2016-06-15.