January 26, 2007
Handy Award-winning bluesman “Steady Rollin’” Bob Margolin will perform in concert Thursday afternoon, February 1, at the Delta Cultural Center Visitors Center at 141 Cherry St.
The performance, which is free of charge and open to the public, begins at 1:45 p.m.
During his visit to the center, Margolin will also be interviewed by “Sunshine” Sonny Payne and Terry Buckalew, museum assistant director, for later broadcast on Payne and Buckalew’s popular weekly “Delta Sounds” radio program, broadcast at 1 p.m. on Fridays on KFFA-AM 1360.
Massachusetts native Margolin first garnered attention and acclaim in the early 1970s as the new guitarist for legend Muddy Waters following the departure of longtime Waters’ guitarist Sammy Lawhorn.
“We’re excited Bob Margolin has the opportunity to play a show and sit down for an interview,” Buckalew said. “We’ll also record a bit of oral history with him, and it’ll be great to speak with a musician who is such a link with our heritage, having worked with Muddy Waters, Pinetop Perkins, and so many others.”
Born May 9, 1949, Margolin picked up the guitar in his teens, first influenced by rockin’ licks of Chuck Berry, but soon also moved by the earthier sounds of blues. Time playing with Luther “Georgia Boy” Johnson would lead to Margolin’s big break with Waters in 1973. The elder bluesman drew his new young guitar player to the front of the stage at his right side so that, night after night, Margolin could watch Waters’ own playing.
The style Margolin developed, defined, and continually sharpened is widely praised today.
“Margolin carries on the tradition of a guitar style that’s rooted in rural blues, yet has a distinct urban sensibility,” says music writer Robert Santelli.
Performing with the Muddy Waters Band from 1973-1980, Margolin also acted as a day-to-day road manager for the band during much of that time. He also participated in a number of the veteran bluesman’s album releases during this period, and appears in the documentary “The Last Waltz” with Waters.
Following the death of Muddy Waters in 1983, Margolin began to devote himself to the development of his own solo career. Though the early days of this effort were devoted to constant gigging, the changing marketplace convinced Margolin of the need to record and release albums that would garner the attention of blues fans. He made his debut album, “The Old School,” in 1989, and followed it up two years later with “Chicago Blues,” both released on the small Powerhouse label.
It was Margolin’s first release on the acclaimed Alligator label, “Down in the Alley,” in 1993 that garnered him new attention and placed him on the bill at major blues festivals across the nation.
Today, Margolin remains a much-in-demand performer who continues to make a big impact in blues recordings. His 2004 “The Bob Margolin All-Star Blues Jam” on Telarc Records received a W.C. Handy Awards nomination for “Traditional Blues Album of the Year,” and featured the talents of Pinetop Perkins, Hubert Sumlin, Carey Bell, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, and Mookie Brill as The Bob Margolin All-Star Band – which was also nominated for a Handy Award as “Blues Band of the Year.”
His latest release, 2006’s “In North Carolina,” is a one-man affair, with Margolin presenting the type of blues he plays at home for his family, including self-penned compositions, Muddy Waters’ numbers, Bob Dylan and The Band’s “Tears of Rage,” instrumentals, and more.
Constantly appearing somewhere, Margolin performs in a variety of line-ups, from The Bob Margolin Blues Band and The Bob Margolin All-Star Blues Jam to The Legends of Chicago Blues and The Muddy Waters Reunion Band.
In 2005, Margolin won the W.C. Handy Award for blues guitarist. He was nominated again in 2006.
Margolin has been involved as a co-producer, consultant, and liner notes author for Sony/Legacy’s new series of reissues of a number of Waters’ late 1970s releases on Blue Sky Records.
Over the years, his distinctive guitar playing has also complimented numerous releases by other artists, including Johnny Winter, Luther “Guitar Jr.” Johnson, Big Joe Duskin, The Nighthawks, Billy Boy Arnold, Nappy Brown, Junior Wells, Big Bill Morganfield, Mojo Buford, and Hubert Sumlin.
He is also a senior writer for “Blues Revue” magazine and a regular contributor to the “Blueswax” website.
The Delta Cultural Center shares the vision of all seven agencies of the – to preserve and promote Arkansas heritage as a source of pride and satisfaction. Other agencies within the department are the Historic Arkansas Museum, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Old State House Museum, the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, the Arkansas Arts Council, and the Natural Heritage Commission.