Born: Dec 13, 1964 in Buffalo, NY
Styles: Modern Electric Blues, Contemporary Blues, Soul-Blues, Retro-Soul, R&B
Instruments: Organ, Bass, Guitar, Piano, Drums, Organ (Hammond), Vocals
Child-prodigy status is sometimes difficult to overcome upon reaching maturity. Not so for Lucky Peterson - he's far 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, NY, blues nightclub that booked the biggies: 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 - he 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 his finest recorded offerings. Extensive session work behind everyone from Etta James and Kenny Neal to Otis Rush also commenced during this period.
In 1992, Peterson's first Verve label album, 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 luck remains high (as does his father's, who's fashioned his own career as a bluesman with albums for Ichiban and Waldoxy). Lucky made his debut for new label Blue Thumb with a self-titled effort released in 1999. Double Dealin' followed in early 2001.
- Bill Dahl (All Music Guide)
Lucky Peterson played his first gig at age three. By the time he was five, he had already recorded his first single, produced by none other than the legendary Willie Dixon. Before Lucky turned six, his career had been propelled into the national spotlight with television appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show,""The Tonight Show"with Johnny Carson and even "What's My Line?"
As a child prodigy, Lucky was somewhat of a novelty act. Today, although he is only in his 30s, Lucky is truly a veteran bluesman. Over the last twenty-plus years, Lucky has played to audiences all over the world, dazzling both fans and critics with his multi-instrumental talents (he plays keyboards, guitar, bass, drums and trumpet), his soulful vocal style and his youthful approach to the blues.
Chicago's Reader recently raved, "His musicianship is unassailable...a combination of sleek-handed dexterity and imagination. . . a happy marriage of blues authenticity and foot-pleasing danceability. This is a young musician of unlimited enthusiasm and nearly unlimited potential having the time of his life and excelling at every stop along the way. "
Born Judge Kenneth Peterson in 1963, Lucky was raised on music in his hometown of Buffalo, New York. His father, James Peterson, was a blues singer and owner of the Governor's Inn, a northern version of a Deep South "chitlin' circuit"roadhouse club. Artists like Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Muddy Waters and Koko Taylor played there regularly. Virtually growing up on stage, little Lucky began playing almost before he began talking.
He started on drums, but after hearing the famed Bill Doggett one night, Lucky became fascinated by the huge Hammond B-3 organ. "Bill had a fit trying to keep me from it,"recalls Lucky. After some lessons from Doggett and the legendary Jimmy Smith, Lucky focused most of his musical energy on the organ. In his spare time, he also mastered bass and piano, becoming good enough to sit in with his father's band and back touring artists like Lightnin' Hopkins and Jimmy Reed. "At first, people wouldn't believe he could play so well,"says James Peterson. "They would think the organ was rigged!"
By the time Lucky was five, word of this child prodigy had spread among the blues community. Willie Dixon, a friend of James Peterson, heard little Lucky and produced the boy's first record, a single entitled "1,2,3,4"and a follow-up album for Chicago's Today Records. The single hit the airwaves with a bang and the national television appearances followed.
As Lucky continued to grow, he honed his instrumental skills by learning from and jamming with some of the best blues players in the world. When Little Milton's band came up short an organ player one night, Milton asked the then-17-year-old Lucky to sit in. One gig was all it took for Milton to fall in love with Lucky's playing. He asked Lucky to join the band permanently. After seven months, Lucky had become Milton's band leader, opening shows with his own 45-minute set on vocals and keyboards. Lucky's three-year stint with Milton led to an equally long gig with Bobby "Blue"Bland as Bobby's featured soloist.
During a break in Bobby's touring schedule, Lucky headed to Europe on a package tour billed as "Young Blues Giants. "There he recorded his second career album, this time for the French label Isabel Records. In 1988, Lucky left Bland's touring band, relocated to Florida's Tampa Bay area and began concentrating on a solo career. His reputation quickly led to regular session work for tiny Florida-based King Snake Records. His funky keyboards sparked Kenny Neal's BIG NEWS FROM BATON ROUGE!!, Rufus Thomas' THAT WOMAN IS POISON! and Lazy Lester's HARP AND SOUL, which were all released by the more visible Alligator Records label.
Alligator president Bruce Iglauer was impressed with Lucky's performance on those and other King Snake productions, and in 1989 Alligator released Lucky's third solo album, LUCKY STRIKES! Lucky co-wrote three songs for the album and played all of the keyboard parts and all but one of the guitar solos.
Alligator's promotion helped to bring Lucky's music to the attention of radio stations and music critics nationwide. They liked what they heard. Billboard called Lucky "...a prodigy whose raw talent bodes well for his future as a leader. "Keyboard magazine said "Peterson is a 26-year-old blues master. "The album received airplay on nearly 200 radio stations nationwide. Several U.S. tours followed, including a recent tour that paired Lucky with labelmate Kenny Neal.
Lucky's brand new Alligator recording, TRIPLE PLAY, picks up where his last album left off, again featuring Lucky's dynamic organ fills and leads with equal emphasis on his stinging lead guitar and soulful locals. The material is a blend of straight-ahead blues, Memphis soul and funky grooves that reflect Lucky's commitment to being on the cutting edge of 1990s blues