On Thursday, January 17, 2013 at the age of 69 Chicago Bob Nelson passed away. Bob was a harmonica player and singer and known for Louisiana and Chicago blues styles.
Bob was named "Chicago" because every blues venue in the Windy City where Muddy Waters played, Robert Lee (Bob) was also featured. Muddy came up with the stage name "Chicago Bob" and he has kept this name throughout his career.
Louisiana blues legends Slim Harpo and Lazy Lester encouraged him and taught him the rudiments of the blues harp. Bob cites Harpo, Lester, Sonny Boy Williamson II and Jimmy Reed as his main influences.
He traveled extensively to Chicago for family visits and spent much of his childhood there. In the early 60 years he moved to Chicago. There he met Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells and Earl Hooker. Later he played with Muddy Waters at the well-known Newport Folk Festival.
Bob Nelson has toured with Luther "Snake Boy" Johnson, Tinsley Ellis (The Heart Fixers) and John Lee Hooker.
Bob was born in 1944 in Bogalusa, Louisiana and now lives in Atlanta Georgia.
Bob leaves us a rich collection of beautiful recordings, such as the two albums he recorded in the 90 years for King Snake Records: Hit and Run Lover (1992) and Back to Bogalusa (1996). His latest CD Tell Me Mama (2009, Music Maker Relief Foundation) contains a collection of acoustic blues, which beautifully shows his talent.
In 1996 the Greyhound Blues Band toured Western Europe with Bob for a month. It was an unforgettable time for us and a good learning experience for our Doggone Blues. In one of the conversations with him that name came up.
We've always had the hope of performing with him again. It won’t happen again.