Induct Henry "The Mule" Townsend & Robert Jr. Lockwood Into The Rock n' Roll Hall Of Fame sign now

To: Fans of Henry James "The Mule" Townsend & Robert Jr. Lockwood & The Rock n' Roll Hall Of Fame, Cleveland, Ohio.

Henry Townsend and Robert Jr. Lockwood are two of the most influential bluesmen in the history of American Roots and Blues music.

Henry 'Mule' Townsend, born October 27, 1909 in Shelby, Mississippi, and died September 25, 2006 in Mequon, Wisconsin, was an American blues singer, guitarist, and pianist. He grew up in Cairo, Illinois and later moved to St. Louis, Missouri where he started recording with some of the early blues pioneers. He made his first recording for Paramount in 1929 and recorded in every decade since until his passing in 2006, He was one of the only artists known to have recorded in every decade for the last 80 years.
In 1985 he received the National Heritage Award, the highest honor our country bestows on a performer in the traditional arts, in recognition of being a master artist. In 1995 he was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame.
Henry took to the streets playing street corners, house parties and speakeasies to hone his craft. In 1928, he began accompanying a number of blues pianists, including Roosevelt Sykes, Peetie Wheatstraw, Henry Brown, and Walter Davis. In 1929, an audition was arranged by a music store owner named Sam Woolf resulting in recordings for Paramount and Columbia. In 1931, he also recorded with Walter Davis for Paramount and Victor.
During the 1930s, he played with many of the early blues giants, including Walter Davis, Roosevelt Sykes and Robert Johnson. Three years later he brought Big Joe Williams back to Chicago for his debut recording with Victor's race label, Decca, which led to the classic duet "Somebody Been Borrowing That Stuff," as well as the first-ever recording of the blues standard "Baby Please Don't Go." By 1935, Townsend had contributed to over 35 recordings.
The author of hundreds of songs and sideman on countless recordings, Townsend became the patriarch of St. Louis blues,and was featured in a BBC documentary. Blues Unlimited magazine called Henry Townsend "a commanding genius of a musician." "I wrote songs on paper but didn't do me know good because it takes something out of my thinking. I find myself doing a lot of ad lib poetry. The foundation that I needed I didn't have it.
- Henry Townsend

One of the greatest roots bluesman of the twentieth century.

Robert Lockwood Jr. was born March 27, 1915 in Turkey Scratch, Arkansas, a farming hamlet about 25 miles west of Helena. 1915 was remarkable because several other monumental blues artists were born within a 100-mile radius that year; notably Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Little Walter Jacobs, Memphis Slim, Johnny Shines, and Honeyboy Edwards. They would all meet up in the future. His first musical lessons were on the family pump organ. He learned the guitar, at age eleven, from Robert Johnson, the mysterious delta bluesman, who was living with his mother. From Johnson, Lockwood learned chords, timing, and stage presence. By the age of fifteen, Robert was playing professionally, often with Johnson; sometimes with Johnny Shines or Rice Miller, who would soon be calling himself Sonny Boy Williamson II. They would play fish fries, juke joints, and street corners. Once Johnson played one side of the Sunflower River, while Lockwood manned the other bank. The people of Clarksville, Mississippi were milling around the bridge; they couldnt tell which guitarist was Robert Johnson. Young Lockwood had learned Johnsons techniques very well. Lockwoods first recordings came in 1941, with Doc Clayton, on his famous Bluebird Sessions in Aurora, Illinois. During these sessions, he cut four singles under his own name. These were the first incarnations of Take A Little Walk with Me, and Little Boy Blue, Lockwood staples sixty years later.
Later in 1941, Lockwood was back in Arkansas where he re-united with Sonny Boy II to host a live radio program broadcast at noon from KFFA in Helena, sponsored by the King Biscuit Flower Company. James Peck Curtis and Dudlow Taylor provided the rhythm. This show became a cultural phenomenon; everybody would listen during his or her lunch hour. Several generations of southern bluesman can trace their musical roots to the show.
Lockwood moved around, the usual route was Memphis, St. Louis, to Chicago. By the early 1950s, he had surfaced in the Windy City, where he became the top session man for Chess Records, the epitome of blues labels. Sonny Boy Williamson II, Little Walter, Roosevelt Sykes, Sunnyland Slim, and Eddie Boyd, whom he toured with for six years, you can hear his smooth chords on their recordings. In the late 1960s Lockwood would gig all around Cleveland, playing whenever he got the chance. Long-forgotten clubs like Pirates Cove and Brothers Lounge were places where Lockwood taught his blues to generations of local musicians and fans. From the early 1980s to 1996, there were no domestic Lockwood releases. In 1998, Ive Got to Find Myself a Woman was released by Verve, gaining a Grammy nomination. This was followed by Telarcs Delta Crossroads, also a Grammy contender in 2000. In 2001, Whats the Score was re-issued on Lockwood Records which has the rights to his Japanese live recordings, previously only available on Peavine. They will be a future project. 1980 Lockwood receives the very first W.C. Handy Award for best traditional blues album 1989 Inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame 1995 Received National Heritage Fellowship Award, presented by Hilary Clinton 1996 Cleveland Mayor, Michael White, proclaims February 3, as Robert Lockwood Day 1997 Has street named Robert Lockwood, Jr. Way in Clevelands Flat District 1998 Inducted into Delta Blues Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Mississippi 2001 Received Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Case Western Reserve in Cleveland 2001 Received W.C. Handy for best traditional blues album, Delta Crossroads 2001 City of Pittsburgh named 8/18 Robert Lockwood, Jr. Day 2002 Received honorary Degree of "Doctor of Music" from Cleveland State University on 5/12
In 1961 Lockwood moved to Cleveland, Ohio where he resided until his death. In the early 1960's, as "Bob Lockwood, Jr., and Combo," he had a regular gig at Loving's Grill, located at 8426 Hough Avenue. In the 1970's through the 1990's, he performed regularly with his band the "All Stars" at numerous local venues, including Pirate's Cove, The Euclid Ave. Tavern, and Peadbody's. For the last few years of his career, Lockwood played at Cleveland's Fat Fish Blue (corner of Prospect and Ontario, downtown Cleveland) every Wednesday night at 8 p.m.; the "All Stars" have continued to perform there after his passing.
His Cleveland period also saw the release of some of his best studio recordings, first with a pair of albums with the All Stars on the Trix label, and then with Johnny Shines for two LP's on the Rounder label. Although he seldom performed without his band, he also recorded a solo album of his own material along with a few Robert Johnson standards under the title "Plays Robert and Robert."
His last known recording session was carried out at Ante Up Audio [2] studios in Cleveland, Ohio where he performed on the LP "The Way Things Go" with long time collaborator Cleveland Fats for Honeybee Entertainment

Please cement their place and musical legends forever in American Music history and induct Henry "The Mule" Townsend & Robert Jr. Lockwood into their rightful place, The Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

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Michele GallegosBy:
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The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame


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