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Lester Kinsey: 1927-2001
Lester Kinsey
'Big Daddy'
Guitar, singer

Born: March 18, 1927 in Pleasant Grove, Mississippi
Died: April 3, 2001 in Gary, Indiana

Blues Patriarch

Copyright © 2001 


Lester “Big Daddy” Kinsey was a powerful singer and guitarist who drew on both the Delta tradition of his native south and the hard urban blues sound of Chicago. He is perhaps best known as the father of Donald, Ralph and Kenneth Kinsey, who achieved considerable success with their band The Kinsey Report, and often performed with their father.

Although born in the south, he was raised in Indiana. He learned guitar as a child, and played harmonica in a local band as a teenager. He modelled his approach on Muddy Waters, and encouraged his sons to take an interest in the music from an early age.

As soon as they were old enough, he formed a family band, Big Daddy and His Fabulous Sons, playing on weekends in clubs and hotels in the Chicago area, and broadcasting on Sunday mornings from the Powerhouse Church of God in Christ, where their grandfather was the minister.

The three sons formed the Kinsey report in 1984, but also continued to work with their father, blending his traditional approach with their more contemporary interest in funk, soul and reggae.

Lester Kinsey made a number of albums in his own right, including Bad Situation (1985), Can’t Let Go (1990), I Am the Blues (1993), which featured guest apperances from Pinetop Perkins, Buddy Guy, James Cotton and Sugar Blue, and Ramblin’ Man (1995).

He died from prostate cancer.

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