Child prodigy status is sometimes difficult to overcome upon reaching maturity. Not so for Lucky Peterson; he grew bigger (in more ways than one) on the contemporary blues circuit than he was at the precocious age of six, when he scored a national R&B hit with the Willie Dixon-produced "1-2-3-4."
Little Lucky Peterson was lucky to be born into a musical family. His dad, James Peterson, owned the Governor's Inn, a popular Buffalo, New York nightclub that booked the big names of the blues: Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, Bill Doggett. The latter's mighty Hammond B-3 organ fascinated the four-and-a-half-year-old lad, and soon Peterson was on his way under Dixon's tutelage. "1-2-3-4" got Peterson on The Tonight Show and The Ed Sullivan Show, but he didn't rest on his laurels. Lucky was doubling on guitar at age eight, and at 17 he signed on as Little Milton's keyboardist for three years.
A three-year stint with Bobby Bland preceded Peterson's solo career launch, which took off when he struck up a musical relationship with Florida-based producer Bob Greenlee. Two Greenlee-produced albums for Alligator, 1989's Lucky Strikes! and the following year's Triple Play, remain a pair of his finest recorded offerings. Extensive session work behind everyone from Etta James to Kenny Neal to Otis Rush also marked this period.
In 1992, Peterson's first album for the Verve label, I'm Ready, found him boldly mixing contemporary rock and soul into his simmering blues stew. More high-energy Verve sets followed, making it clear that Peterson's career was in full swing. (Meanwhile, his father James Peterson fashioned his own career as a bluesman with albums for Ichiban and Waldoxy and remained an active player in Florida until his death in 2010). Lucky made his debut for the revived Blue Thumb label with a self-titled effort released in 1999, and Double Dealin' followed in early 2001.
The new millennium found Peterson recording a number of well-received albums for various labels, including Black Midnight Sun (2003, Dreyfus), the father-and-son James & Lucky Peterson duo album If You Can't Fix It (2004, JSP), Heart of Pain (2010, JSP), You Can Always Turn Around (2010, Dreyfus), and Every Second a Fool Is Born (2011, JSP). Peterson self-produced himself for the first time with 2014's The Son of a Bluesman, which appeared on the Jazz Village imprint. Also appearing that year was the retro-blues-tinged album Travelin' Man. The prolific Peterson dropped another studio album in 2014, I'm Back Again for Blues Boulevard, and 2015 brought the concert set Live in Marciac July 28, 2014. In 2016, Peterson brought out another studio album, a set of moody late-night numbers titled Long Nights. ~ Bill Dahl