All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » Robert Nighthawk

Robert Nighthawk Robert Nighthawk

A highly influential blues slide guitarist Robert Nighthawk, adapted and refined his technique on the instrument to accompany his mournful vocal style. Elmore James, Muddy Waters, and Earl Hooker are direct musical offspring, and yet, despite his close ties to greatness, Nighthawk spent his musical life in relative obscurity.

Born Robert Lee McCollum on Nov. 30, 1909, in Helena, Arkansas, Robert was raised on a farm. An older musician, harp player Eddie Jones, taught fourteen-year- old Robert to play harmonica circa 1923. During the 1920s, McCullum began the rambling that became his trademark. He ranged across the Delta playing with Will Shade of the Memphis Jug Band in Memphis, and working the Black Cat Drug Store in Hollandale, Mississippi, with William Warren. He played juke joints and fish fries in between.

Around 1930, McCullum was working on a farm in Murphy Bayou with his cousin Houston Stackhouse. During their leisure time Stackhouse taught his cousin to play guitar, mostly numbers by local bluesman Tommy Johnson. The two teamed with Robert's brother Percy to play parties, dances, and fish fries around Crystal Springs, Mississippi. Robert and Stackhouse even backed country music star Jimmie Rogers at a Jackson, Mississippi, hotel. Resuming his wanderings, armed with a guitar, McCullum traveled across the Delta, making the acquaintance of Charley Patton and Robert Johnson while living in Friars Point, Mississippi. He then moved north to Memphis, where he had an extended engagement with John Lee Hooker at the New Daisy Theater and gigged at open-air appearances with the Memphis Jug Band.

Read more

Tags

Photos

Albums

Album Live on Maxwell Street.1964 by Robert Nighthawk

Live on Maxwell...

Rounder Records
1992

buy

Watch

Similar

B.B. King B.B. King
guitar, electric
Little Walter Little Walter
harmonica
Junior Wells Junior Wells
harmonica
Elmore James Elmore James
guitar, slide
J.B. Lenoir J.B. Lenoir
guitar
Earl Hooker Earl Hooker
guitar, slide
Otis Rush Otis Rush
guitar, electric
Koko Taylor Koko Taylor
voice / vocals
Jimmy Rogers Jimmy Rogers
guitar, electric
Snooky Pryor Snooky Pryor
harmonica

Shop Amazon

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.