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Bob Kirkpatrick

Dallas-based guitarist, singer, and songwriter Bob Kirkpatrick may not be a household name, but he's been quietly building an audience for the last 30 years in clubs around Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana. Although he hadn't recorded in 23 years prior to 1996's Going Back to Texas, Kirkpatrick has long been a regional star in the Texas triangle, but since he has always made family his first priority, his recording/blues career fell somewhere down the ladder. Kirkpatrick, born in 1934 in Haynesville, LA, became interested in music at age six, starting out on piano and switching to guitar. Kirkpatrick worked with Ivory Joe Hunter while attending school at Grambling, doing some road dates, but it wasn't until he saw B.B. King in 1958 that he became a true convert to the blues. When Kirkpatrick's doctors recommended that he take some time off from school after an illness, Kirkpatrick went to Dallas and played in clubs while holding down several different day jobs over the years. In 1968, he was offered the chance to go on the road as a substitute guitarist for Bobby "Blue" Bland's regular guitarist, but Kirkpatrick chose to stay home with his young children. Kirkpatrick's brother was involved with the Newport Folk Festival and was able to book him several times, beginning in 1970. In 1973, he recorded Feeling The Blues for Moses Asch's Folkways Records (now marketed through the Smithsonian Institution). Kirkpatrick stayed in Dallas, raising his children and playing at the Elks Lodge in south Dallas on weekends for 16 years. After retiring in 1986, Kirkpatrick was urged to get back on the bandstand at area blues clubs by a friend who owned a club. Since the mid-1980s, he has been writing new songs and playing regionally again. Collectors may want to look around vinyl shops for his Folkways album, but easier to find is his 1996 JSP album Going Back To Texas, which shows B.B. King's influence on his vocals and guitar playing. Four years later, Kirkpatrick released Drive Across Texas. ~ Richard Skelly, Rovi
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