April 12, 2011 / 6:17 PM / 8 years ago

Chicago blues musician Lacy Gibson dead at 74

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Blues musician Lacy Gibson, whose jazz-influenced guitar and rich vocals were sought after by leaders of Chicago’s once-thriving blues scene, has died at age 74, one of his record labels said on Tuesday.

Gibson died on Monday of a heart attack, according to a statement from Alligator Records.

Gibson was born in Salisbury, North Carolina, in 1936 and headed to Chicago at age 13 with his family, gravitating to the blues music scene to learn at the feet of Willie Dixon, Sunnyland Slim, Lefty Bates, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, T-Bone Walker, and Muddy Waters.

Gibson rounded out his unpredictable guitar style playing pop and jazz in Chicago supper clubs and lounges in the 1950s.

His versatile guitar became a mainstay on stages and in recording studios for numerous bands led by such blues luminaries as Son Seals, Otis Rush, Jimmy Reed, Billy “The Kid” Emerson, Billy Boy Arnold, Big Time Sarah, and Sun Ra.

He recorded three albums as the headliner, beginning with “Wishing Ring” on his brother-in-law Sun Ra’s label in 1971. Gibson also recorded at Chicago’s famed Chess Records, singing vocal on his tune “My Love Is Real” with Buddy Guy on guitar.

Gibson cut four tracks for Alligator Records’ “Living Chicago Blues” series in 1980, then released “Switchy Titchy” on the Black Magic label in 1983. His most recent release was “Crying For My Baby” in 1996 for Delmark.

Most recently, he helped run and occasionally played sets at an after-hours club on Chicago’s West Side called Ann’s Love Nest. The club is named for his wife, who survives him along with a son, five daughters, 17 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Reporting by Andrew Stern; Editing by Jill Serjeant

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