April 11, 2011 – Lacy Gibson (blues guitarist) was born on May 1, 1936, in Salisbury, North Carolina. Gibson’s family settled in Chicago in 1949 and he quickly became entranced by the local action and involved in the city’s blues scene, receiving tips on blues guitar playing from musicians such as Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker and Sunnyland Slim and picked up pointers from immaculate axemen Lefty Bates, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, and Wayne Bennett.
Gibson made a name for himself as a session player in 1963, assuming rhythm guitar duties on sides by Willie Mabon for USA, Billy “The Kid” Emerson for M-Pac!, and Buddy Guy on Chess. Gibson made his vocal debut on the self-penned blues ballad “My Love Is Real” at Chess the same year, though it wasn’t released at the time (when it belatedly emerged, it was mistakenly attributed to Guy). Besides working with innumerable blues artists, he was also involved in the jazz scene.
A couple of bargain basement 45s for the remarkably obscure Repeto logo (that’s precisely where they were done – in Lacy Gibson’s basement!) preceded Gibson’s inconsistent album debut for then-brother-in-law Sun Ra’s El Saturn label. Ralph Bass produced an album by Gibson in 1977, but the results weren’t issued at the time (Delmark is currently releasing the set domestically).
A stint as Son Seals’s rhythm axeman (he’s on Seals’s Live and Burning LP) provided an entree to Alligator Records, which included four fine sides by Gibson on its second batch of Living Chicago Blues anthologies in 1980. Best of all was a Dick Shurman-produced album for the Dutch Black Magic logo in 1982, Switchy Titchy, that brilliantly spotlighted Gibson’s clean fretwork and hearty vocals. After he regained his health in the mid-’90s, Lacy Gibson entered the studio and recorded Crying for My Baby, which was released in 1996.
He was a musician’s musician, his versatile guitar and unique rich style of joining the influences of jazz and blues and pop quickly became a mainstay on stages and in recording studios for numerous.
Gibson died of a heart attack on April 11, 2011 at age 74.