Gerry Lockran

b. Gerald Loughran, 19 July 1942, Yeotmal, Central Province, India, d. 17 November 1987. Born to an Irish father and an Indian mother, Lockran and his family moved to England in 1953. Two years later, aged just 13, Lockran was playing guitar in a skiffle band called the Hornets. However, it was not until he heard Elvis Presley’s guitarist Scotty Moore that Lockran really took interest in the instrument. What clinched it for Lockran was hearing Big Bill Broonzy and Brownie McGhee. They, he claimed, were his greatest influences. He regularly played in clubs in Europe through the early 60s, and the latter half of the period saw him consolidate his popularity in the UK and on the continent. In 1974 Lockran toured the USA with Joe Cocker, and at one stage was offered the chance of replacing the headlining artist, who had fallen ill, but declined saying that he ‘didn’t want to be Joe Cocker’ as he had his own loyal following. Lockran also supported artists such as Stevie Wonder, the Eagles, Rod Stewart, and at one time the American press likened Lockran to another great blues man, Taj Mahal.

Lockran gradually moved away from the British folk scene, finding himself able to make a better living playing in the USA. This decision was also prompted by the fact that the British folk scene had largely scorned blues through the early 70s, preferring to retain its traditional image. It was while returning from a German tour in October 1981 that Lockran suffered a heart attack, and not long after this, a stroke left him partially paralyzed down the left side. In 1982 another heart attack left him unable to perform, cruelly ensuring that his legacy of country-blues and rag-time were confined to his recorded works. Lockran’s albums featured a veritable who’s who of the music business, notably Cliff Aungier, Henry McCullough, Pete Wingfield, and Neil Hubbard. A collection of Lockran’s poems, Smiles And Tears, were published in 1983. Lockran died in November 1987 following another heart attack. Such was the respect that he was held in that a benefit night held for his family on 24 January 1988 at the Half Moon, Putney, London, saw artists such as Cliff Aungier, Gordon Giltrap, Wizz Jones, Bert Jansch, Dave Kelly, Alexis Korner and Henry McCullough turn out to play.

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