Born on a cotton plantation in Jamaica, Eddie Kirkland got his start in the music business at the age of 12 as part of the Sugar Girl’s Medicine Show. After a short stint with the show, Eddie landed in Indiana, moved on to New Orleans where he frequently appeared with the Louisiana Six, and finally settled in Detroit. Eddie worked at the Ford Motors plant in Detroit and played small clubs and house parties on the side. It was at one of these house parties that Eddie met John Lee Hooker, an event that had profound effects on both of their careers.
For seven years, Eddie Kirkland and John Lee Hooker toured and made many recordings together. Eddie fondly remembers one recording session for Chess Records when “Muddy, Little Walter and Jimmy Rogers was listening in that studio on the balcony.”
The guitar style of Eddie Kirkland had a powerful impact on many guitarists.In 1962, Eddie recorded one of the most powerful records in blues history for Prestige. “It’s The Blues Man” has been in highest demand among collectors for years and was reissued by Fantasy Records in 1987.
During the rest of the decade, Eddie recorded now and then with John Lee Hooker but his most important work during the sixties was for the famous Stax Records, recording a hit on their subsidiary Volt Records (recently reissued by Atlantic Records) and touring with Otis Redding for three years. Eddie was fronting his band by this time and has continued to do so ever since.