September 11, 1940 – February 25, 2015

robert belfour

Legendary blues guitarist Robert Belfour has died at the age of 74. The musician, known as “Wolfman,” was a legend in his adopted home city of Memphis.

A staple of the Memphis and Mississippi blues worlds, Robert “Wolfman” Belfour has died at age 74. His sister-in-law and nephew found him at his home on Wednesday morning, and his passing was confirmed by executives of the Memphis Blues Society.

Born near the town of Holly Springs in the Northern hill country of Mississippi in 1940, from an early age Belfour was steeped in the music unique to that area. He first learnt to play guitar from his father and was neighbour and friend to artists such as Othar Turner, Syd Hemphill, R.L. Burnside and future label mate Junior Kimbrough. In 1959 he moved to Memphis and spent the next thirty five years working in construction, playing music in his spare time.

Like Kimbrough and other North Mississippi Fat Possum label mates R.L. Burnside, and T- Model Ford, Belfour plays rhythmic, riffy, trancey blues but he adds a level of detail with some sophisticated fingerwork. His powerful vocals have, aparently, led him to be dubbed ‘Wolfman’ at times.

Although a blues legend, Belfour’s style was different to many of his contemporaries, his background was not in delta blues but in Mississippi Hill Country traditions. Bruce Watson of Fat Possum, a blues label in Mississippi told the Commercial Appeal, “He was the last guy who was playing that style who could really pull it off. He was totally connected to it.” Belfour, who was taught guitar by his father, was influenced by greats such as John Lee Hooker and Lightin’ Hopkins.

His music has been featured on compilations, and his two released albums are “Pushin My Luck” (2003) and “What’s Wrong With You” (2000).

Source: The Commercial Appeal Memphis

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