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Book Reports

Nov 28

November 28, 2006

Tuesday Nov. 21st at 4:59, Robert Lockwood passed€I guess we all knew that his life would be different at best after suffering a stroke on Friday Nov.3rd. Miss Mary had a message on the website that she was not receiving calls or e-mails. But by Sat. I had to call. I apologized and she said, €I didn€t mean you..€

I loved my friendship with Robert. Looking back, way back, it didn€t come easy. I was introduced to him a few times over the years at festivals and clubs, and he always looked at me suspiciously, I guess. Sometimes people open up to you and sometimes they don€t.

Playing an acoustic blues festival in Blue Hill, Maine about 10 years ago, Robert and I were teamed up for the evening concert. Each night, the festival paired and €old timer€ with a younger player to open up the show.

At the sound check I was again introduced to Mr. Lockwood. He was up on stage, by himself and was looking into my eyes when I said, €Hacksaw Harney stayed at my apartment for two days ! €€€Robert said, €He was the best guitar player in the delta. Hacksaw was a blankety blank blank octopus on the guitar€. I stared back into his eyes and said I really liked to hear him play piano better. Finally, I got a smile out of the old man! He laughed and said, €you really blankety blank knew him€€ Robert had a great high pitched laugh that in the following years always made me feel good.

That was the beginning of a friendship I will always treasure. After the sound check Robert was looking around my little €tour bus€ and I invited him in. He liked the idea that I was self contained, didn€t have to ask anybody for a cup of coffee or something to eat, could lay down and take a nap whenever I wanted and always had a place to get away. He looked at me approvingly when I told him I booked myself, recorded for my own label and that I was self managed. He always made me feel good about myself and about music as well and the way I handled my career.

Sitting in my €tour bus€, Robert asked what was that sitting on the table. I told him it was a Sabine Guitar tuner. I showed him how it stuck on the front of the guitar. He asked me to write down the name of it so he could get one. I told him he could have mine as I had two. €just write it down for me€ he told me. €I€ll make you a deal Robert€, I said. €You show me how you play that song Little Boy Blue that you recorded in 1941 and I€ll give you the tuner€. He laughed again and said €That€s a deal, get your guitar€.

The morning after the festival, at about 6:30 am, there was a knock on my motor home door. I stumbled to the door in my pajamas and there was Robert and his wife. He told me they had to catch an early plane home and that whenever I got to Cleveland, That they had a big house I could stay in with plenty of indoor bathrooms. I€ll never forget that weekend.

I was invited to perform at Robert€s 85th Birthday party in Cleveland at Wilbert€s. When I got there, I said, €I€m Roy Book Binder, Hacksaw€s buddy€. He laughed his high pitched laugh and said he knew who I was. That was the first time I got to meet and to hear his band. That was very cool. In the years that followed, I always made sure to get to town before my gigs so I could catch RL and the big band at Fat Fish Blue. They worked together like a well oiled machine. Miss Mary and Robert always made me feel welcome in their lovely home in Cleveland and I will always remember Robert serving his special Catfish dinner with slaw and home style potato salad . Nancy and I never had such a fine catfish dinner. We discussed music, musicians, friendship and life in his music room as Nancy and Mary talked away the afternoon out front.

We surprised Robert, Miss Mary and Honeyboy Edwards at BB Kings in NYC last June when we walked back stage. Me and the Wife happened to be in town visiting my Mother. What a show Robert and Gene did that night€must have been 800 people there and they went wild.

I was always surprised and thrilled when Robert drove himself down to see me perform at Night Town in Cleveland every time I played there. I consider myself a very lucky man to have had such a friend as Robert Lockwood Jr. and I miss him already.

Bye Now,

Roy