Barbecue Bob Biography

Robert Hicks, 11 September 1902, Walton County, Georgia, USA, d. 21 October 1931, Lithonia, Georgia, USA. His older brother Charley (later known as Charley Lincoln), learned guitar first, but Robert seems to have followed soon afterwards, also learning from Curley James Weaver’s mother Savannah; both brothers played 12-string guitar. Bob moved to Atlanta in 1924, where he worked at a barbecue, which gave him his pseudonym. Here he was heard by a talent scout and made his first records in 1927. This began a successful recording career that lasted just four years but produced over 50 tracks of fine blues. His music was characterized by a heavy, percussive style, often using a bottleneck. His voice was rather rough but could carry a slow blues as well as more up-tempo dance numbers. In 1930, he recorded as part of the Georgia Cotton Pickers, with Curley Weaver and Buddy Moss, and he also appeared as accompanist on Nellie Florence’s single 1929 session. Well established as one of the principal figures on the Atlanta blues scene of the time, his career was tragically ended by his death from pneumonia at the age of 29.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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