RIP Eddie Kirkland – August 16, 1923 to February 27, 2011
Blues Guitar Legend Eddie Kirkland Killed In Florida Car Crash
The Atlanta Journal -Constitution is reporting that blues guitar legend Eddie Kirkland, “The Gypsy Of The Blues”, was killed Sunday morning in a Florida wreck.
The Jamaican-born Kirkland, 88, was a former bandleader for Otis Redding and recorded with John Lee Hooker, among others. Kirkland performed Saturday night at the Dunedin Brewery, outside of Tampa, according to his website.
Shortly before 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Kirkland was driving his 1998 Ford Taurus when he attempted a U-turn and turned into the path of a Greyhound bus, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The bus hit the right side of the Taurus, pushing it about 200 yards.
No one on the bus was injured, according to the FHP. Kirkland was transported to Tampa General hospital, where he died from injuries sustained in the crash. The crash remains under investigation.
Kirkland, who was born on a cotton plantation, moved with his mother to New Orleans when he was a year old. The two later moved to Mobile and southwest Alabama.
“That’s where I came to hear the blues . . ., ” Kirkland told the AJC in 1989. “My first experience with the blues was when I was a little baby about 2 years old. My mama used to take me to the cotton field and put me at the end of a row in the shade. You’d have people coming down the row, and it was a long field, and you could hear them singing. As a little baby, the music got into me.”
His mother gave him a harmonica when he was 4, he said. At 12, he played guitar with the Sugar Girls Medicine Show before heading to Detroit.
In 1949, Kirkland traveled to Macon while on tour with Hooker. The middle Georgia town would later become Kirkland’s home.
“If one person appreciates what I’m doing it’s just as good as a million,” Kirkland said. “A lot of places we’ve played, after I paid the band I didn’t have a dime. But it was a good show. I was happy. That’s it for me. It’s my life.”
Kirkland also appears on the 2010 studio album by classic blues rockers Foghat, ‘Last Train Home’ performing two tracks with the band.
Website Eddie Kirkland : www.eddiekirkland.com