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Big Daddy Kinsey

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Long before Lester "Big Daddy" Kinsey and his clan hit the international blues circuit, he established himself as the modern-day blues patriarch of Gary, Indiana and as the Steel City's answer to Muddy Waters. A slide guitarist and harp blower with roots in both the Mississippi Delta and postwar Chicago styles, Kinsey worked with local bands only long enough for his sons to mature into top-flight musicians, and after 1984 (when Big Daddy recorded his debut album, Bad Situation) the family act became one of the hottest attractions in contemporary blues. Big Daddy's material ranged from deep blues in the Muddy Waters vein to hard-rocking blues with touches of funk and even reggae, courtesy of sons Donald and Ralph (who venture even further afield in their own outings as the Kinsey Report). In the early '90s Kinsey released one of the most successful albums of his career, I Am the Blues, which featured contributions from Buddy Guy, James Cotton, Sugar Blue, and Pinetop Perkins. On April 3, 2001 he succumbed to prostate cancer, dying at the age of 74. ~ Jim O'Neal

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Birth Name:

Lester Kinsey


18 March 1927 in Pleasant Grove, MS

Years Active:

'80s, '90s